Eintracht Frankfurt-Bayern Munich Preview: Champions eager to banish Alaba blues

Pep Guardiola’s side face a team on a four-game losing streak as they look to move on from the defender’s injury blow

Bayern Munich will revert their primary focus back to league matters ahead of Saturday’s visit to struggling Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern reached the last 16 of the Champions League with two matches to spare after a comfortable 2-0 win over Roma on Wednesday.

The German champions have won all four of their matches in the competition this season and could now take their foot off the pedal given that first place in Group E is also secure.

That would see them make building a healthy lead atop the Bundesliga table their main target in the coming months, and with regular rival Borussia Dortmund stunningly trapped in the relegation zone, the title looks like Bayern’s to run away with.

Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach have made excellent starts – both four points adrift of leaders Bayern after 10 matches – but the likelihood of the duo maintaining their charge all season is unlikely.

And the fact that Bayern’s next crucial Champions League clash will not be played until February – when the round of 16 begins – gives Pep Guardiola’s men a lengthy period to exert their domestic dominance.

Bayern faced a defensive Roma side in Munich – one wary of a repeat of the 7-1 drubbing they received in the Italian capital last month.

As a result they were hard to break down, but in the absence of Arjen Robben (stomach bug), fellow winger Franck Ribery took centre stage.

Ribery scored the opener and impressed throughout for the Bundesliga champions, for whom Mario Gotze also scored.

And now fit again, Ribery is in a confident frame of mind.

“It is always a positive [to be fit and playing],” Ribery said.

“It is good for your mindset but we have plenty of good players and there are a lot of games to play.

“It is a long season. I am feeling good at the moment though and it is good for my rhythm to play from the start. 

“We’ve played well [in the Champions League] and won our matches and it is good for confidence. Hopefully we can carry it on in the Bundesliga now.”

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm offered a similar view and said: “We have won the group now, so we can focus all our energies on the Bundesliga.”

That is ominous for Frankfurt, with unbeaten Bayern having scored 23 goals and conceded just three in their 10 matches so far.

Gotze is the joint top-scorer in the league, with six, while Robert Lewandowski – who crossed from Dortmund in the close-season – has weighed in with five.

Frankfurt also have an in-form scorer, though, with Alexander Meier netting four goals in as many matches.

Meier has six in the league this season and will need to be on his game again as Frankfurt seek to end a four-match losing streak in all competitions.

Bayern will be without David Alaba, who injured his knee against Roma and looks set to be out until the new year, while similar issues are sidelining Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thiago Alcantara. Pepe Reina is still battling a calf injury.

The Bavarian giants have won their last four against Saturday’s opponents without conceding and last lost to them in 2010 – with the last two meetings in Frankfurt ending in 1-0 Bayern wins.

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