'Carry on where we left off'

Heiko Herrlich has positive memories of Eintracht Frankfurt as a player: This Friday exactly 27 years ago, 24 November 1990, he scored his first Bundesliga goal against the team from Hessen as an 18-year-old thereby establishing a milestone in his impressive career.

Herrlich has no objections to building on recent success as he admitted at the pre-match press conference ahead of the league match in Frankfurt: "We want to carry on where we left off against RB Leipzig last week: We're obviously going there to win the game. That would represent a huge step forwards for us." The Werkself are two points behind the team in seventh and a win would take the Black and Reds above Eintracht and keep them in touch with the top spots. The encounter promises much excitement. "The way I see Frankfurt they can easily compete for a European finish. They have an outstanding coach in Niko Kovac. Since he took over as coach the team has moved out of the relegation zone and continue to develop – last season they were even in the DFB Cup final," said Herrlich.

encounter with a "tactically strong opponent"

"The statistics are well known and they have the third best defence in the league. So it will bee very difficult for us to score there," predicted Herrlich. The Werkself head coach particularly praised the tactical finesse of the team from Hessen: "We're playing against a very good side that's very flexible both in attack and defence and are therefore difficult to predict. Sometimes they push up, sometimes they sit back and play out from defence or they choose to play a long, targeted ball to Sebastien Hallér." Herrlich made it clear his team needed to deal with Eintracht's top scorer (five goals) and new signing Kevin Prince Boateng. Last season, he used Frankfurt games to further his work. So it's no surprise that Herrlich is expecting a "very difficult task": "We again need to build on our work against the ball like we did so well against Leipzig."

Sven Bender Misses Frankfurt trip

In terms of the line-up, Bayer 04 primarily have to be prepared to make changes in defence: In addition to Wendell (fifth yellow card) and Benjamin Henrichs (one-match suspension), Sven Bender is not yet available following his double rib fracture. Although he was able to train during the week the defender was still suffering pain. "He's only up to 70 per cent so we won't take any risks. All the players who can give 100 per cent can help us more. We have 20 fit outfield players and a lot of quality in reserve," explained Herrlich. He will also have to manage without Vladlen Yurchenko (bruised foot). In contrast, he again has Panos Retsos available. Following his cold at the start of the week he returned to training on Wednesday and is in the squad for tomorrow's game.

Around 1,300 Werkself supporters are expected to follow the team to Frankfurt.


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