Having scored eight goals in 10 games at the end of last season, Andre Silva will be keen to reproduce that kind of form when Eintracht Frankfurt take on promoted side Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday (kick-off 3:30pm CEST/ 2:30pm BST/ 9:30am ET).
Frankfurt blew hot and cold in the Bundesliga in 2019/20, but after narrowly missing out on European qualification, they will be eager to establish a solid foundation for the new campaign early on. Silva will be crucial to that objective and the Portugal international, who recently made his loan deal from AC Milan into a permanent transfer, hit the target again as the Eagles progressed to the second round of the DFB Cup with a 2-1 win over 1860 Munich on Saturday. Following the departure of compatriot Goncalo Paciencia on loan to Schalke, he could be joined up top by Bas Dost, who also scored in that game, with head coach Adi Hütter looking to stick with his 3-4-1-2 formation. Jetro Willems is definitely absent with a knee injury, while Filip Kostic should return on the left wing ahead of summer recruit Steven Zuber, who was in the first XI in the cup, with the Serbian suspended.
Bielefeld are back at Germany's top table for the first time since 2009 after winning the Bundesliga 2 title last season. They finished 10 points clear of VfB Stuttgart, and had both the best attack (65 goals scored) and best defence (30 conceded), giving them cause for optimism ahead of the new campaign. After contributing 21 goals and 11 assists in 31 games last term, talismanic striker Fabian Klos will be the main threat to Frankfurt's goal, although initially without injured partner-in-crime Andreas Voglsammer (12 goals, 5 assists). Loan signing Sergio Cordova, freshly arrived from Augsburg, will provide competition and some top-flight know-how. And after being on the wrong side of an upset in the first round of the DFB Cup at the weekend - Bielefeld lost 1-0 to fourth-tier side Rot-Weiss Essen - they will be champing at the bit to make amends here.
Watch: Welcome back to the Bundesliga, Arminia Bielefeld!
- Silva was Frankfurt’s top scorer last season with 12 goals, including eight in his last 10 outings.
- Kostic wasn’t bad either, finishing fifth in the overall assist charts with 11 (four goals).
- After reaching the UEFA Europa League semi-finals in 2018/19 and the last 16 in 2019/20, this is the first time in three years that the Eagles won't be playing in Europe.
- The teams have faced each other 26 times in Bundesliga history, although the most recent of those was back in 2009. Frankfurt have won 11 to Bielefeld’s six, with nine draws.
- That year was also the last time Bielefeld were in the Bundesliga, finishing bottom of the table. They even slipped down to the third tier in subsequent years.
- Bielefeld striker Klos was the top scorer in Bundesliga 2 last season with 21 goals in 33 games. Formerly on the books at Wolfsburg, the 32-year-old has never played in the top flight before.
Frankfurt: Trapp - Abraham (c), Hasebe, Hinteregger - da Costa, Kohr, Rode, Kostic - Kamada - Silva, Dost
Out: N'Dicka (ankle), Willems (knee)
Doubtful: Ache (back)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Bielefeld: Ortega - Brunner, Pieper, Nilsson, Laursen - Prietl - Soukou, Consbruch, Hartel, Cordova - Klos (c)
Out: Voglsammer (foot), Müller (muscular)
Coach: Uwe Neuhaus