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Bundesliga: Bayern coach Niko Kovac relying on former crew Frankfurt to unsettle Dortmund title bid

Berlin: Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac is hoping his former membership Eintracht Frankfurt can power leaders Borussia Dortmund into stumbling...

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Bundesliga: Bayern coach Niko Kovac counting on former team Frankfurt to unsettle Dortmund title bid


Berlin: Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac is hoping his former membership Eintracht Frankfurt can power leaders Borussia Dortmund into stumbling this weekend within the Bundesliga title race.

File picture of Niko Kovac. Reuters

Dortmund, who’re six factors away from second-placed Bayern, face a tricky away process on Saturday at fifth-placed Frankfurt, who boast one of many league’s deadliest assaults.

Likewise, Kovac’s Bayern additionally face a tough journey on Saturday to Bayer Leverkusen, who similar to Frankfurt, have a strong assault, however a leaky defence.

(The matches, to be performed on Saturday and Sunday, will likely be proven dwell on the Star Sports community, with live-streaming out there on Hotstar)

On Thursday, Kovac, who lifted the German Cup solely final May as Eintracht coach earlier than quitting to take over at Bayern, joked that he hopes his former membership journey up Dortmund to permit Bayern to slim the hole. “My Frankfurt boys already know what they have to do,” joked Kovac.

Frankfurt struggled in defence throughout final Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Werder Bremen, however forwards Sebastian Haller, Ante Rebic and Luka Jovic, the league’s top-scorer, have scored 31 objectives in 19 league video games this season.

As Bremen director Frank Baumann instructed, “Frankfurt will be a challenge for Dortmund, just like Leverkusen will be for Bayern”.

With their mouth-watering Champions League final 16, first leg conflict at Tottenham Hotspur now lower than two weeks away, Dortmund must hold playmaker Marco Reus and England winger Jadon Sancho match.

The pair had been on the coronary heart of final Saturday’s 5-1 romp at residence to strugglers Hanover 96 and are key if Dortmund are to safe a primary league win at Frankfurt in practically six years.

“Of course we’ll be looking at our rival’s result (in Leverkusen), but we can’t influence that, the focus is on our game in Frankfurt,” mentioned Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.

Dortmund’s essential damage concern is defender Lukasz Piszczek, who took a knock to the heel towards Hanover.

Dortmund’s new signing, teenager Leonardo Balerdi suffered a mouth damage on obligation with Argentina’s juniors within the South America Under-20 championships and isn’t anticipated again in Germany till early subsequent week.

It has been practically 4 years since Bayern, who’re chasing a seventh straight league title, final misplaced at Leverkusen, who’re getting ready for his or her third recreation beneath new coach Peter Bosz.

The Dutchman’s affect confirmed as Leverkusen romped to a 3-Zero win at Wolfsburg final weekend with Germany forwards Kai Havertz, Kevin Volland and Julian Brandt banging within the objectives.

Defending champions Bayern will likely be with out veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in Leverkusen, each of whom are coming back from damage, Kovac mentioned.

Central midfielder Thiago Alcantara is again in coaching after a leg knock and “should be an alternative for Leverkusen,” mentioned Kovac.

The departure of Sandro Wagner to Chinese facet Tianjin Teda means Bayern have offered their back-up striker for Robert Lewandowski and didn’t signal a substitute earlier than the switch window closed on Thursday.

“There is only one or two players in the world who can replace him,” mentioned Kovac, insisting that both Germany forwards Thomas Mueller or Serge Gnabry might slot in for the prolific Poland goalscorer within the occasion of damage.

Fixtures (Times in IST)

Saturday

Hanover 96 v RB Leipzig (01.00), Hoffenheim v Fortuna Duesseldorf, Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin v Wolfsburg, Nuremberg v Werder Bremen (20.00), Schalke v Borussia Moenchengladbach (23.00)

Sunday

Augsburg v Mainz (20.00), VfB Stuttgart v Freiburg (22.30)

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