- Aigner scores for second week running.
- 1-0 win means Frankfurt need just a point to stay up.
- Frankfurt travel to Werder Bremen on Matchday 34 on three-game winning streak.
Despite climbing out of the bottom two with a derby win at SV Darmstadt 98 last week, the true test of the Eagles' survival hopes was still to come. Dortmund, still challenging for the title, were due to pay the Commerzbank Arena a visit on Matchday 33, before Frankfurt's trip to fellow strugglers SV Werder Bremen on the final day.
Rising to the occasion
That run-in presented a daunting prospect - before Aigner, the man for the big occasions, stepped up. The 28-year-old's winner against Darmstadt was only his second goal of the season, and with Frankfurt's Bundesliga future still on the line on Saturday it was he who struck for the second time in as many weeks to put Niko Kovac's men in command of their own destiny with a 1-0 victory.
"This was a very, very important win," Aigner said, the relief written all over his face. "It might not have been pretty, but that's not so important. We knew we had to be compact in defence to concede as few chances as possible, and we've done that."
Indeed a robust defence was the key to Frankfurt's unlikely third consecutive triumph. After Aigner guided a superb header from Makoto Hasebe's cross past Roman Bürki in the 14th minute, it was all about protecting the result against a side who have scored more goals than any other team in Germany this season.
"We knew it was going to be really difficult because Dortmund are in extremely good shape," said Aigner. "They're in top form, but we defended resolutely and didn't really concede much – and that's what we needed."
It was certainly a nail-biting affair for the majority of the 51,500 fans, who Aigner praised for helping prevent wave after wave of Dortmund attacks from piercing their protection. "We've not been playing top-drawer football of late, but the atmosphere here's always been of the highest order," he said. "We've shown that we can give the fans something back for this."
Frankfurt can continue to repay that support next weekend away to Bremen in what will be an all-or-nothing encounter for both sides. A draw would be enough for the Eagles to avoid an agonising relegation play-off against Bundesliga 2 side 1. FC Nürnberg, but their hosts must win to be spared the same fate. "We all know what the stakes are going to be next week," said Aigner. "That's why this win was extremely important today."