Eintracht Frankfurt host FC Koln in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
The hosts are yet to win either of their opening two matches, so they will be desperate to change that on home soil.
Having traveled to Helsinki in typically large numbers to watch their side lose 2-0 to Real Madrid in the European Super Cup, Frankfurt’s fanbase would have been pleased to be back in the warm when they travelled to the capital to see their team face Hertha Berlin.
However, perhaps jaded after their trip abroad, Frankfurt’s players carelessly lost the ball in their own half on several occasions throughout the first half, with Suat Serdar punishing them in the fourth minute before Wilfried Kanga squirmed an excellent opportunity to double his side’s lead.
Oliver Glasner would have been pleased by his side’s improvement after the half-time interval, though, with Daichi Kamada capping off a scintillating counter-attack to level the proceedings just three minutes into the second half, before Santos Borre was adjudged to have fallen to ground too easily inside the penalty area after a VAR review.
Ultimately, avoiding defeat given the small gap between games was no disaster, even if that is something Glasner’s players are going to have to get used to given their Champions League involvement from next month.
In the meantime, they will be determined to bag their first victory of the season when they take on Koln at Deutsch Bank Park on Sunday.
With Koln yet to be beaten in the Bundesliga this season, though, that may prove a difficult ask.
Steffen Baumgart‘s side have bounced back from their disappointing penalty shoot-out defeat to Jahn Regensburg in the DFB-Pokal first round by beating Schalke 04 3-1 on the opening day, before claiming an excellent 2-2 draw away to RB Leipzig last time out.
Leipzig’s fans were in louder voice than usual given their returning hero Timo Werner‘s second debut, and the script looked written after the former Chelsea forward’s speculative effort from 25 yards squirmed through the body of Marvin Schwabe and into the back of the net.
However, Schwabe redeemed himself by thwarting Christopher Nkunku from close range, with Koln going straight up the other end to equalise after Florian Kainz‘s accurate low cross was met by Florian Dietz at the back post.
Koln’s chances of securing an upset dramatically increased after Dominik Szoboszlai saw red for an elbow on Kainz moments before half-time, but Nkunku had other ideas as he made amends for his first-half miss by showing searing pace and excellent technique to strike the ball into the far corner on his wrong foot.
Koln are made of stern stuff these days, though, and Kainz’s dangerous corner caught Josko Gvardiol flat-footed as the Croatia defender inadvertently bundled the ball into his own net. Baumgart will be confident his side can at least retain their unbeaten record in Frankfurt this weekend.
Frankfurt will be without Almamy Toure after the defender suffered a hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw with Hertha.
He was replaced by Makoto Hasebe in the 73rd-minute, with the 38-year-old likely to anchor the defence on Sunday, meaning Tuta will switch to right-sided centre-half.
Aurelio Buta (knee) and Jerome Onguene (thigh) will also miss out, with Glasner likely to restore Borre in attack after only utilising him from the bench last time out following his exploits in Helsinki.
Koln, meanwhile, are expected to travel without forwards Mark Uth (thigh) and Dimitrios Limnios (knee).
Benno Schmitz could return to right-back in place of Kingsley Ehizibue after the pair swapped last time out, but Baumgart is unlikely to make any other changes with his side in a strong moment.
Eintracht Frankfurt possible starting lineup:
Trapp; Tuta, Hasebe, Ndicka; Knauff, Sow, Rode, Lenz; Goetze, Kamada; Borre
FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Schwabe; Schmitz, Kilian, Hubers, Hector; Skhiri, Martel; Thielmann, Ljubicic, Kainz; Dietz