BUNDESLIGA boff Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) runs the rule over Saturday's German Cup final.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund | Saturday 19:00 | BT Sport
Eintracht Frankfurt are searching for their first cup success since 1988 on Saturday evening as they take on red-hot favourites Borussia Dortmund in Berlin.
The Eagles were beaten finalists in 2006 but squeezed past Borussia Monchengladbach on penalties to secure their spot in the DFB Pokal final just 12 months after battling against Bundesliga relegation in a play-off.
Head coach Niko Kovac has worked wonders with the team, guiding the club to their best defensive start to a season in 24 years and seeing Eintracht climb as high as third in February before injuries began to bite.
Frankfurt’s poor form
Frankfurt fell to pieces in the final furlong (W1-D4-L10) and eventually finished down in 11th. The underdogs shipped at least two goals in 10 of those 15 fixtures and must also contend with a number of players on the treatment table.
On-loan Manchester United man Guillermo Varela was sent packing this week after getting a tattoo against team and medical orders; it’s subsequently become infected and Kovac booted the young right-back out of the club.
Elsewhere, Omar Mascarell, Marc Stendera and Makoto Hasebe are all suffering from injuries but Jesus Vallejo has returned and could feature in a back-three with Bastian Oczipka then switching into midfield. Alex Meier is also back in the fold for Eintracht.
The Eagles competed well against Dortmund in both league meetings – beating BVB in Frankfurt 2-1 before losing 3-1 at Signal Iduna Park – and Kovac’s crew did comeback from two goals down to secure a point last weekend against RB Leipzig.
However, Frankfurt don’t tend to deal too well when posed with Bundesliga big guns. Since the start of last season Eintracht have returned just W2-D4-L10 against top-four opposition although both triumphs did arrive against Dortmund at home.
Dortmund too good to ignore
Nevertheless, it’s hard to dismiss the Eagles’ recent run of results and injury misery. They were given a rather tame path to the final and look likely to come unstuck against a Dortmund side that ousted Bayern Munich 3-2 after trailing in the semi-finals.
Die Schwarzgelben have been beaten in each of the last three DFB Pokal finals against Bayern Munich (x2) and Wolfsburg but this is the first time BVB arrive in the capital as firm favourites and I just don’t seem them fluffing their lines.
Thomas Tuchel’s troops finished the season very well, recording nine wins from 14 and the form of Bundesliga top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in potentially his final game for Dortmund, plus the return to form and fitness from Marco Reus should prove decisive here.
The betting angle
Dortmund are hunting their first major trophy since 2012 and I’m backing them to pick up top honours with a victory in 90 minutes alongside Over 2.5 Goals at 11/10 with BetStars. Nine of BVB’s past 10 games have seen both sides score whilst five of Frankfurt’s past seven have delivered at least four goals.
Both league matches between the teams delivered Over 2.5 Goals and 14 of Dortmund’s 18 Bundesliga triumphs also arrived alongside successful Over 2.5 Goals selections.
What’s more, 11 of the past 17 DFB Pokal finals this century have produced three or more goals with five of the last seven having four or more. At least one of Bayern or Dortmund have been involved in six of these.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund – Borussia Dortmund to win and Over 2.5 Goals (11/10 BetStars)