Frankfurt - Runaway league leaders FC Bayern Munich can complete their first step towards an historic treble on Saturday afternoon, as they look to wrap up the Bundesliga title, the 22nd in their history at Eintracht Frankfurt (kick-off 15:30 CET).
The record German champions can also set a new Bundesliga record for the earliest title win ever with victory this weekend, but according to midfielder Javi Martinez there will be no celebrations just yet. “We'll hold a suitable party at a later date," said the Spanish international .
The Bavarians travel to Frankfurt with momentum and confidence on the back of their 2-0 UEFA Champions League triumph against Juventus and, after missing out on a first-ever March title despite a 9-2 thrashing of Hamburger SV last weekend, die Münchner can end the title 'race' once and for all in Frankfurt.
“We're determined to win the league at the Commerzbank Arena,” said Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri, who could well be in line for a starting berth following Toni Kroos' injury in midweek.
“In our own hands”
Two years without a title has certainly spurred Bayern on to even greater heights this season, but Jupp Heynckes’ made it clear that the season doesn’t end on Saturday even if the Bavarians emerge victorious. “We’d be absolutely delighted to clinch first place,” said the 68-year-old, who is poised to become the oldest head coach to win a Bundesliga title. “However, we won’t be celebrating because we’ve got other targets still to achieve.”
Providing Borussia Dortmund beat FC Augsburg, only dropping points in Frankfurt, where BVB won the title back in 2010, would prevent Bayern from once again underlining their status as a Germany’s most successful side. “It's in our own hands and we're resolute about winning in Frankfurt,” said sporting director Matthias Sammer on the club’s official website. “It would be an outstanding championship triumph.”
For their part, Frankfurt’s 3-2 victory over Greuther Fürth last weekend put an end to a run of six games without a win, reigniting their hopes of securing European football for next season. However, up against a Bayern side, who, according to coach Armin Veh, “haven’t gone through a bad patch all season”, the 52-year-old could be without as many as three key players. Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and top scorer Alexander Meier are both guaranteed to miss out, while a late decision is expected to be made on the fitness of captain Pirmin Schwegler.
“On a normal day we’d have absolutely no chance, but if we’re able to pull off a spectacular performance then maybe something’s possible,” said Veh, who will be hoping the likes of Takashi Inui, who scored for the first time in ten games last weekend, can step up to fill the void left by Meier’s absence. “We’re not about to freeze, but we’re clearly the underdogs. The game starts at 0-0, which is why we love this sport.”
Frankfurt: Nikolov - S. Jung, Zambrano, Anderson, Oczipka - Lanig, Rode - Celozzi, Inui - Aigner, Lakic
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, van Buyten, Boateng, Contento - Tymoshchuk, Javi Martinez - Robben, T. Müller, Shaqiri - Gomez