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The third of October not only sees the 20th anniversary of Germany’s reunification, but also three cracking Bundesliga fixtures: VfB Stuttgart v Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen v Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund v Bayern München.
Scored the goals in Eintracht's last win v VfB in 2006: Meier (centre left) and Amanatidis (centre right)
On Sunday Eintracht will hopefully continue their positive trend at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena, the home of VfB Stuttgart. Watch out! The Eintracht fixture will be internationally broadcasted and might be available on a channel in your country!
VfB Stuttgart are currently ranked rock bottom of the Bundesliga table after five defeats and one win in six games. They seem to struggle with a lot of big names leaving the squad ahead of the season: Jens Lehmann, Sami Khedira, Ricardo Osorio and Aliaksandr Hleb to name just a few. They also had various injuries so far, and on Sunday the Italian star signing Mauro Camoranesi will be out with a red card ban.
But then Stuttgart is somehow the ‘hard-to-beat’ team for Eintracht, with no win in the last eight meetings the Eagles have been without a three pointer in this fixture since April 2006. Back then they beat VfB 2-0 away with goals coming from Alex Meier and Ioannis Amanatidis. It was the fixture right ahead of the 2006 German cup final in which Frankfurt lost to Bayern Munich (0-1) at the Olympic stadium in Berlin – a milestone in Eintracht’s recent history.
Last season the game v Stuttgart also took place on matchday seven (Eintracht lost 3-0 at home), the last 0-0 occurred 16 years ago. Cacau scored five goals in 10 games v Eintracht, all of them in the last six meetings, Ioannis Amanatidis scored three in seven games against his former team – he had his Bundesliga debut with VfB.
In the pre match interview Eintracht manager Michael Skibbe as always offered his views on the situation ahead of the game.
Mr Skibbe, two players got minor injuries in training today. What happened?
Theofanis Gekas got a knock on his foot, and Pirmin Schwegler got hit by a ball on the back of his head. But I figure both will be in the team on Sunday.
So you’ll have plenty of options for the game?
Yes, I hope nearly the full squad will be available, apart from the long termed injured Zlatan Bajramovic and Sebastian Rode.
Do you plan to change things compared to the game v Nürnberg?
I won’t change a lot. Players like Ochs and Meier push for the starting eleven, but the other players did a good job last Saturday. I will wait until after the final practice session.
Will Ochs and Meier be in the starting line up?
Ochs will play from the start, I can’t decide on Meier just yet.
How does it look for Ioannis Amanatidis?
I can’t see him playing the full 90 minutes yet.
Did you watch Stuttgart play Odense BK in the Europa League yesterday?
Yes I watched the game. The had a few changes within the team but that might change once again on Sunday. For example I expect Pogrebnyak to start the game.
Last season Eintracht played well away to Stuttgart, but lost in the end. How do you plan to succeed this time?
Indeed we played well in the game last season. We have to prevent VfB’s attacking play towards their strikers. They have international top strikers up front, so we have to avoid giving them too many opportunities.
Is Stuttgart’s poor start to the season an advantage?
They have a strong squad which is much better than the current standings reflect. Still we’d like to take something with us from the game.
The more so as your team also did not yet fullfil the expectations?
Yes, we have less points than we were planning to have at this stage. That’s why it’s even more important to gain points in the two upcoming away games, in order to get attached to the mid table region of Bundesliga.