After a second successive 1-1 draw on Tuesday, Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said it was “high time we flicked the switch,” warning that “the title is at stake.”
A loss when Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt today would see the Eagles climb within two points of the 31-time Bundesliga title winners, while blowing the league wide open for the chasing pack.
While calling out forward Serge Gnabry for an “amateurish” mid-season jaunt to Paris Fashion Week, Salihamidzic said Bayern need to “wake up now.”
“We can prepare well for [Frankfurt] in the next few days, [we must] burn it into our heads how important the game is,” he said.
The shift in reckoning might seem dramatic considering Bayern won 6-1 in Frankfurt in the season’s opening fixture in August last year, but it is a credit to the Eagles’ continued development under manager Oliver Glasner this season.
Half a season later, Frankfurt have lost just once since early October last year in all competitions. They sit third in the league and have made it through to the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 at their first attempt.
A sure sign that the reigning UEFA Europa League champions have Bayern worried came on Sunday’s edition of German TV institution Doppelpass, when Frankfurt became the target of former club boss Uli Hoeness’ pre-match mind games.
Hoeness praised today’s opponents, saying the club had “made the greatest progress of any club [in Germany] in the past 12 to 18 months,” while adding that Bayern had “thought about bringing back” star midfielder Mario Goetze just before the 2014 World Cup winner signed with Frankfurt last year, but opted against it.
Goetze, plucked from Borussia Dortmund in 2013, had a largely unhappy three-year spell in the Bavarian capital. He returned to Dortmund in 2016, before moving to Dutch side PSV Eindhoven on a free transfer in 2020.
While it would be generous to say that Eintracht have the wood on Bayern, they have won two of their past four games against the all-conquering Bavarians and were one of only two teams to win in Munich in the league last season.
Frankfurt’s 3-1 win in the 2017-2018 DFB-Pokal final was only the fourth time Bayern have lost in the showpiece event, having won it on 20 occasions.
However, Frankfurt missed a golden chance to close the gap with Bayern to three points on Wednesday, drawing 1-1 at SC Freiburg.
Glasner warned his side: “I don’t believe it’s going to get any easier in Munich.”
“They play with brutal speed and they are also very strong with headers,” he said.
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