Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Monchengladbach preview: Could the Eagles put a dent in die Fohlen's UCL charge?
 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

The Bundesliga becomes the first major league in Europe to resume on Saturday, and the fixture between Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach will round up the first day of match.

Neither side are inexperienced with playing games without supporters, with Gladbach participating in the first every Bundesliga 'ghost game' against Köln before the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eintracht have played against Marseille and FC Basel in the Europa League behind closed doors in the past, whilst games against Standard Liege and Arsenal were not allowed away supporters (although this does not mean there were not any in the home end) due to a UEFA punishment.

Adi Hütter's side's home record this season has been much better than their away record, but the side may struggle without the backing of their fans, as they did against Basel in their previous Europa League tie.

Team news

Eintracht Frankfurt

For Adi Hutter's side, Goncalo Paciencia will miss Saturday's match after picking up an injury in training this week, the Eintracht boss confirmed in his press conference on Friday.

However, it may be a difficult one for both sides due to the absence of football for such a long period of time, and it might take some time for players to adjust to featuring for a full 90 minutes. Speaking to eintracht.de this week, Martin Hinteregger spoke about how training has been for the Hessich side:

"We’ve trained very hard in the last few weeks, we did a lot of running and a lot of physical conditioning.

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"You can see that in every session, even if they are short and intense.

"Everyone wants to play and leave the long periods of training behind them. We’re all raring to go.

Borussia Monchengladbach

If there's one thing that will hold Gladbach back in Sunday's game compared to previous fixtures, it will be the lack of young Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria, who has recently received surgery for a recurring knee issue. Die Fohlen's sporting director, Max Eberl, said that he hopes he will be back in four to six weeks. 

"Denis Zakaria's knee operation went well. We're not too sure how long he'll be out for, but we're hoping that he'll be back in 4 to 6 weeks" Eberl said on Monday.

The 23-year-old has featured 31 times for Gladbach this year, scoring and assisting twice in that time. The difference that he makes could be seen in the club's previous game against FC Köln, where Gladbach only actually netted one whilst letting one in, although luckily their opposition scored an own-goal to hand Marco Rose's side a derby-day win

Ones to watch

Eintracht Frankfurt - Filip Kostic

In what has been an underwhelming season from an Eintracht Frankfurt side that has struggled to adjust to the loss of Sebastien Haller, Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic, Filip Kostic has been one of the shining stars of Adi Hutter's squad.

A fast winger for the eagles, the Serbian has scored six and assisted eleven goals so far this season and is their main threat going forward, alongside Goncalo Pacienca and Andre Silva.

Kostic is currently fifth in the Bundesliga for expected assists, above the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Robert Lewandowski, all whilst playing for a side that currently sit in the lower half of the table in Germany.

Borussia Monchengladbach - Alassane Pléa

Recently linked with a possible move to Manchester United, the Frenchman has been Gladbach's main goal threat this season.

He has scored eight times this season whilst assisting a further seven, playing a crucial part in Borussia's aim to secure Champions League football in their city next year. Playing against an Eintracht side that can often have defensive frailties, the 27-year-old may find himself on the scoresheet during Saturday's game.

Plea is currently seventh in the league for expected goals, but is currently underperforming with an xG of 11.04 despite having only scored eight this season.  Gladbach currently have a two-point advantage on Bayer Leverkusen for fourth place, with every goal that they can pick up being crucial in their aims for securing a UCL spot.

Eintracht Frankfurt - Martin Hinteregger

It's not often that a centre-back finds themself on the scoresheet, and it's even less often that they are the highest-scoring player on their team.

However, that is the case for Austrian defender Martin Hinteregger. His presence in the air, primarily off of corners, has seen him notch in seven already this season. 'Hinti' is not only a goalscoring threat, however, and has been one of the most solid players at the back for Eintracht.

The ex-Gladbach man netted in NRW in the last meeting between the two, and could possibly find himself playing a large part in Saturday's match-up.

Borussia Monchengladbach - Lars Stindl

After suffering a leg break in the 2018/19 campaign, Lars Stindl has come back well into the 2019/20 season.

He has scored eight and assisted three so far this season, but played far less minutes than his French counterpart Plea.

Stindl averages a goal every 119 minutes compared to Plea's 215, whilst 6% more of his shots end up hitting the target.

The 31-year-old German has proved himself to be a great goalscorer and could play a large part for Gladbach on Saturday

How to watch and stream

The game is available to viewers in the United Kingdom from 16:45 BST on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 1 Ultimate, as well as being able to stream on the BT Sport app.

As well as this, VAVEL UK will have LIVE minute-by-minute updates of the game, with pre-match buildup throughout the day.

Predicted lineups

Eintracht Frankfurt

Trapp; Toure, Ilsanker, Hinteregger, N’Dicka; Hasebe, Kohr; Rode, Kamada, Kostic; Silva

Borussia Monchengladbach

Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Kramer, Strobl; Herrmann, Embolo, Thuram; Plea

Previous meetings

The last time that the two sides played each other, Gladbach ran out 4-2 winners at home. Hinteregger and Da Costa scored for Eintracht, with Thuram, Wendt, Elvedi and Zakaria netting for Die Fohlen. You can watch highlights of the game here:

Gladbach were unbeaten in the 2018/19 Bundesliga against Eintracht, winning the first game of the season at home before drawing 1-1 away in Hessen.

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