Bordeaux – Eintracht Frankfurt aim to secure a place in the first knockout round of the UEFA Europa League at the second time of asking by completing a group stage double over FC Girondins de Bordeaux in France on Thursday evening.

Frankfurt go into the encounter at the Stade Chaban-Delmas (kick-off 21:05 CET) in the south-western port city top of Group F on nine points, two clear of second-place Maccabi Tel Aviv FC, who put the Bundesliga outfit's hopes of early qualification on ice with a 4-2 victory in the Israeli metropolis last time out.

Struggling on the home front


A draw would suffice in this one to ensure the Eagles' progression with a game to spare, while hosts Bordeaux, bottom of the group on three points, need a win and luck elsewhere to extend any hope of qualification into the sixth and final matchday. Despite that advantageous starting position, and the fact that his charges cruised to a 3-0 home win in the sides' first meeting, Armin Veh anticipates a “very tough” night's work against a side he rates “the strongest opponents in our group”.

The head coach, furthermore, has not had his problems to seek in the run-up to the return. For one thing, Eintracht have now gone eight games without a win in the Bundesliga, an ongoing slump which, five draws notwithstanding, has seen them drift perilously close to the bottom three. Above all, a worrying rash of very late goals – most recently against Schalke at the weekend, denying them a first home league win of the season – has cost them dear.

Personnel woes for Veh


Veh himself believes the added fixture burden imposed by an unexpected return to European competition is playing a not insignificant role in the team's recent tendency to run out of steam towards the end. It may also help explain an ever-expanding injury list, with right back Stefano Celozzi (thigh muscle strain) the latest player to be ruled out for Thursday, after Alexander Meier, Stefan Aigner, Bamba Anderson, Marco Russ and Marc Stendera.

“It's not an easy situation for us,” Veh admitted at the pre-match press conference, “but there's no point moaning and groaning about it. We still want to win this one.” As far as that goes, the team will certainly not be alone inside the stadium. No fewer than 12,000 Eintracht fans are expected to be present – in all likelihood outnumbering the home support and, just by-the-by, the largest away contingent on record for a Europa League game.

Possible line-ups

Bordeaux: Carrasso – Mariano, Sané, Henrique, Orban – Sertic, Rolan, Obraniak – Saivet, Diabate, Jussie

Frankfurt: Trapp – Jung, Zambrano, Kempf, Oczipka – Lanig – Rode, Flum – Barnetta – Kadlec, Joselu