dThe pinch has lessened. Because the “small setback with an adductor injury” seems to have passed, as Dino Toppmöller As we reported on Thursday, Hugo Ekitiké will most likely storm again. As long as the Eintracht coach trusts him. “I'm sure he will return to the team,” said the Frankfurt football teacher.

In-person appointment at the professional camp. For Toppmöller it was a good opportunity to verbally prepare for the upcoming “highlight match” for Eintracht. Sixth in the table occupies third place, Eintracht in the Stuttgart: It's this Saturday (6:30 pm in FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky) the eternally young classic from the southwest of the Bundesliga. This time with clearly assigned roles, because the Swabians are the favorites. Coach Sebastian Hoeneß's team is unbeaten in ten league games. Even on points with Bayern.

VfB's advantage over Eintracht is immense. After 28 days of play, Stuttgart has added 18 points more than Frankfurt. For some, this means well-deserved Champions League qualification is within reach. For the rest, due to the weakness of their competitors, there is an opportunity to jump back into the financially lucrative European Cup business. “For us it is good that the opponent is the favorite,” said Toppmöller, recalling his team's surprising 1-0 victory against RB Leipzig. The Frankfurt coach confidently stated: “We have good players with good weapons.”

“It is enormously helpful”

Eintracht officials assumed that Hugo Ekitiké would be a quick and lasting reinforcement. Alone: ​​To date, the 21-year-old Frenchman has not fully recovered. For this, reasons of physical fitness were cited mainly. It seems that they are over, at least so says Toppmöller, who should know better. After all, he participates in all the training sessions on the pitch and is aware of the sensitivity of his professionals. “In every training session lately Hugo has given a lively and fit impression.”

More recently, an adductor injury prevented the 20 million man from enjoying his recreational work. But now the situation is completely different: “It would be a great help if he were available for us,” said the Eintracht coach. “It helps win games.”

Goal guarantee: Omar Marmoush is Eintracht's most successful attacker.

Goal guarantee: Omar Marmoush is Eintracht's most successful attacker.

Image: dpa

On Saturday afternoon it will be seen at the Stuttgart Arena whether Eintracht has a chance of winning the main match of the 29th round of the Bundesliga. The match under the floodlights will have a special splendor, because for VfB, after two years of construction and waiting, it is the first match in the stadium with the main stand finally rebuilt.

There is space for a total of 60,000 spectators in the Arena am Neckar, where VfB has played with enthusiasm and fury again and again this season. “Stuttgart has a really good team,” Toppmöller enthuses about the Swabians' performance so far. “My fellow coach Sebastian Hoeneß always has a good idea of ​​how he wants to play with and against the ball. Everyone just has it. What they do is impressive.”

Toppmöller was especially impressed on Thursday when he spoke of the opponent's stormy qualities. The fact is that Stuttgart's attackers have scored 39 goals this season. Eintracht only has eleven goals scored by Frankfurt forwards. Most of this performance comes from this Omar Marmush credit, which he scored ten times. Nacho Ferri scored the other goal. Of course, Marmoush will be present on Saturday in Stuttgart. Without him, Eintracht will not function under any circumstances.

Marmoush has to play and will, but not Ellyes Skhiri. The Tunisian is out due to a “mild calf injury,” as confirmed by Toppmöller. “We don't want to take any risks with him and therefore we will proceed with caution.” In place of Skhiri, Mario Götze will once again ensure the connection between defense and attack alongside Hugo Larsson, who returns to the team.

When a journalist asked Toppmöller whether Donny van de Beek could be an alternative again at some point, the 43-year-old football teacher replied: “He has to prove himself in training. If he does it, he will play.” Given the situation, the Dutchman will only watch the highlight match in Stuttgart from a distance. Meanwhile, Ekitiké will strive to live up to the supposedly good impressions of training in the decisive competition. It's time for the Frenchman to show what he's made of.