Bundesliga preview: Eintracht hit road running
By Football News
Eintracht Frankfurt will hope they can improve their poor away form when they travel to fellow Bundesliga high-flyers Bayer Leverkusen.
In the first weekend of Bundesliga action after the winter break, fourth-placed Eintracht will travel to second-placed Leverkusen having lost four of their past six away matches in the league.
Eintracht have not won at Leverkusen's BayArena since March 2008 either, meaning Armin Veh's side will need to produce something special for Saturday's clash, which looms as the match of the round.
But Veh's side have defied expectations throughout the campaign having come up as the second-placed team from last season's Bundesliga II.
With impressive attacking midfielders Takashi Inui (five goals, five assists) and Stefan Aigner (six goals, five assists) the main men for Veh, Eintracht will provide plenty of danger for the home side at the BayArena.
But Leverkusen will be tough to break down as they have not lost at home this season.
Mainz versus Freiburg is the other interesting fixture of the weekend.
Thomas Tuchel's sixth-placed Mainz side will take on the other over-achieving team in the Bundesliga, Freiburg, who sit fifth.
Mainz and Freiburg were both promoted to the Bundesliga after the 2008/09 season and are on track for potentially their best seasons since coming up.
Schalke and Hannover open the round on Friday with both teams needing to improve their form after the winter break if they are to challenge for European football next season.
Having not won in six league games before the winter break, Schalke sacked Huub Stevens after the first-half of the season and new head coach Jens Keller will hope the Bundesliga's seventh-placed side can knock off Hannover and get some momentum going.
Hannover, who finished seventh and fourth in the past two seasons, are 11th and need to improve their consistency if they are to move up the standings.
Mirko Slomka's team have won successive Bundesliga games only twice this season.
League leaders Bayern Munich will host fellow Bavarian club Greuther Furth on Saturday and could extend their margin at the top of the table to 12 points if they win and Leverkusen lose.
In other games on Saturday, Wolfsburg host Stuttgart, Borussia Moenchengladbach will head to Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen take on Borussia Dortmund.
On Sunday, Nuremburg will host Hamburg and Fortuna Dusseldorf take on Augsburg.