Bundesliga survival as well as Hessenderby pride are on the line when Eintracht Frankfurt travel to the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor to take on SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
Before their 4-1 defeat to 1. FC Köln on Saturday, Darmstadt had gone a club-record six games undefeated in the Bundesliga. The Lilies remain five points above the automatic relegation places with nine left to play for, and a return to winning ways would guarantee their survival.
Eintracht are 17th with 30 points, though Niko Kovac's men scored a vital win in beating 1. FSV Mainz 2-1 last weekend. Matchday 31 went to plan elsewhere for Die Adler, with relegation rivals SV Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Saturday's opponents Darmstadt all losing. Alex Meier remains Eintracht's top scorer with 12 goals despite missing the past eight matches with a knee injury, and Kovac will need to tap into other goal sources with the 33-year-old unlikely to be back before the end of the campaign.
Matchday 15 rewind: Frankfurt 0-1 Darmstadt
Matchday 32 - match stats
- This is Darmstadt's 100th Bundesliga game. Before this season, the Lilies had played Bundesliga football in the 1978/79 and 1981/82 campaigns.Darmstadt are undefeated in three home games, with one win and two draws in that time. They have never gone four home games undefeated in the top flight.Eintracht have the worst away record in the league, collecting only nine points on the road.Kovac's side have lost their last five away games, failing to score in their previous four. A fifth away game without a goal would be a new club record. This is a meeting of the two most booked teams in the division. Eintracht have had 87 yellow cards to Darmstadt's 80.Peter Niemeyer has missed three games for Darmstadt this season. The Lilies shipped an average of 3.7 goals per game in that time. With the veteran defensive midfielder in the side, they have only conceded an average of 0.75.Marco Russ is in line for his 250th Bundesliga game for Eintracht. Carlos Zambrano is set to make his 100th Bundesliga appearance for Die Adler.In captain Aytac Sulu, Darmstadt have the most prolific defender in Europe this season with seven goals.
Darmstadt: Mathenia - Jungwirth, Sulu, Rajkovic, Caldirola - Niemeyer, Gondorf - Heller, Rausch - Vrancic - Wagner
Absentees: Rosenthal (Achilles)
Coach: Dirk Schuster
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Regäsel, Zambrano, Abraham, Oczipka - Russ, Hasebe - Aigner, Huszti, Ben-Hatira - Seferovic
Coach: Niko Kovac