Eintracht Frankfurt go into Friday’s home match with Hamburger SV (kick-off 20:30 CET/19:30GMT) teetering dangerously above the Bundesliga’s bottom three.
Since beating VfL Wolfsburg 3-2 in their opening game of the Rückrunde, the Eagles have slipped after picking up just one point from their last three league matches. HSV, meanwhile, eased their own relegation fears with a 3-2 win over UEFA Champions League-chasing Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 22 and are eager to pull further away from danger with victory at the Commerzbank Arena.
HSV had Jaroslav Drobny to thank for helping them secure a share of the spoils at the Volksparkstadion in September. The veteran Czech goalkeeper pulled off superb second-half saves, denying Haris Seferovic and Alexander Meier to become the first goalkeeper this season to prevent the Eagles from finding the net.
Matchday 22 - match facts
- Frankfurt have lost their last two home games, conceding seven goals in the process. Suspensions forced Armin Veh to rotate his defence on both occasions.
- HSV put clear daylight between themselves and the relegation places with their seventh win of the season on Matchday 21. They have now won as many matches this season as they did in the entire 2013/14 campaign.
- The Red Shorts only reached seven victories after 30 league matches last term.
- The Eagles currently boast a longer unbeaten run against Hamburg than against any other Bundesliga club (seven matches).
- Hamburg are the only team Eintracht did the double over last season.
- Veh masterminded HSV’s last victory over Frankfurt on 21 January 2011 (1-0). Michael Skibbe was in the Commerzbank Arena hot seat at the time.
- Veh has not lost to HSV in five matches. His last defeat against his former club came in August 2009 when he was in charge of VfL Wolfsburg (2-4).
- Stuttgart are the only side Hamburg have beaten more frequently than Frankfurt in the Bundesliga (43 wins compared to 41).
- Bruno Labbadia has never lost to Frankfurt as a top flight coach (four wins, four draws) - a record the Darmstadt-born tactician is bound to be proud of.
- Meier joined Eintracht from HSV in summer 2014. In nine home games against his former side, the striker has scored seven times.
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Regäsel, Zambrano, Abraham, Hasebe - Stendera, Russ - Aigner, Fabian, Huszti - Meier
Absentees: Bamba Anderson (knee), Bastian Oczipka (suspended), Stefan Reinartz (groin), Johannes Flum (knee), Luc Castaignos (ankle)
Hamburg: Adler - G. Sakai, Djourou, Spahic, Ostrzolek - Jung, Holtby - N. Müller, Hunt, Drmic - Rudnevs
Absentees: Philipp Müller (shoulder)