Eintracht Frankfurt v Schalke – Commerzbank-Arena at 17:00 live at BT Sport
Eintracht Frankfurt lifted the DFB Pokal and tabled a top-half finish under Niko Kovac last season but with the Croat moving to Bayern Munich in the summer, the club opted to bring in Adi Hutter as their latest head coach.
Hutter was the first Austrian to win a league title abroad as his success with Young Boys last term ended Basel’s eight-year monopoly in Switzerland. However, he was starting the season without a number of last term’s leading lights, pilfered during the off-season by bigger and richer rivals.
Die Adler’s most creative player, Marius Wolf, joined Dortmund and the mercurial Kevin-Prince Boateng departed, along with Lucas Hradecky and Omar Mascarell weakening the ranks. And following the ignominy of a first round DFB Pokal exit to lower league opposition and Super Cup shellacking by Bayern, the pressure was immediate on Hutter.
Results and performances have gradually improved. The new boss is a polar opposite in terms system, preferring a 4-4-2 and his team to press hard, take risks and attack at every opportunity. It’s an approach that’s brought six wins from Frankfurt’s past seven (W6-D1-L0), as well as famous Europa League victories over Marseille and Lazio.
Reasons to oppose Eintracht
Clearly, results (and performances) are impressing for the Mercedes-Benz Arena club, although there is wiggle room to oppose the hosts on Sunday when they take on Schalke. For starters, Hutter’s troops face a long trip to Cyprus on Thursday evening for a continental tie; they won’t be back until Friday.
Secondly, the home side remains without a series of frontline performers, including defensive components Timothy Chandler and Carlos Salcedo. Frankfurt have also picked up a solitary point from a possible 12 (W0-D1-L3) against the current top-six and were winless against the top-five in 2017/18.
With Schalke finally finding their feet after a record-breakingly bad start to the campaign, the Royal Blues are valued with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.88. We’ll make a half-stakes profit should the game end all-square and earn a full-stakes pay-out if the away side triumph.
Schalke on the up
Goals from Guido Burgstaller and Mark Uth helped Domenico Tedesco’s troops to a vital 2-0 triumph at home to Galatasaray in the Champions League in midweek, following up their excellent efforts in a 0-0 draw against the Turkish champions a fortnight ago. It means the Gelsenkirchen club have now lost just once in nine outings across all competitions.
As always, Schalke have been built from the back and that defensive resilience has led the Royal Blues to six shutouts in that nine-match streak. And across the Bundesliga as a whole, only Bayern Munich have given up fewer outstanding opportunities from open play.
Under Tedesco, Schalke have returned W21-D7-L6 when playing domestic rivals outside the top-six and such records deserve respect. Therefore, I’ll happily take the odds on offer, knowing we’ll make money should the visitors avoid defeat.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Schalke +0.25 at 1.880
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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