After a second-successive 1-1 draw on Tuesday, Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic it was “high time we flicked the switch”, warning “the title is at stake”.
A loss when Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday 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.”
The shift in reckoning may seem dramatic considering Bayern won 6-1 in Frankfurt in the season’s opening fixture in August. It is however a credit to the Eagles’ continued development under manager Oliver Glasner this season.
Half a season later, Frankfurt have lost just once early October in all competitions. They sit third in the league and have made it through to the Champions League knockouts at their first attempt.
A sure sign that the reigning 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 Saturday’s opponents, saying the club had “made the greatest progress of any club (in Germany) in the last 12 to 18 months” while adding Bayern had “thought about bringing back” star midfielder Mario Goetze, just before the 2014 World Cup winner signed with Frankfurt in 2022, but opted against it.
Goetze, plucked from then rival 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 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 2018 German Cup final was only the fourth time Bayern have lost in the showpiece event, having won it on 20 occasions.
Frankfurt however missed a golden chance to close the gap with Bayern to three points on Wednesday, drawing 1-1 at Freiburg.
Coach 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.”
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