Eintracht Frankfurt have a recent history of denying FC Bayern silverware. On Saturday it will be almost a year to the day since they beat Die Roten in the DFB-Pokal final, in coach Niko Kovač's swansong.
The two sides meet on Saturday with silverware on the line once more. Kovač will, once again, be in the dugout. But he will be leading Bayern this time and his focus will be on clinching the Bavarian giants' seventh straight and 29th overall Bundesliga title.
At one point it looked as though Bayern’s dominance could be about to end. They were five points behind long-term leaders Borussia Dortmund prior to the Winterpause. But a remarkable run of form which has seen them drop just nine points since then means victory against Kovač's old side at the Allianz Arena on Saturday will secure the title.
In that period Bayern have had a 100 per cent home record, winning eight from eight and conceding just three goals. Ominously for Frankfurt, they’ve also put five or more past Vfl Wolfsburg, Mainz and, most impressively, Borussia Dortmund in that period.
But Eintracht Frankfurt are having a memorable season of their own. Ahead of the final round of Bundesliga fixtures they are set to eclipse last season’s eighth-place finish and DFB-Pokal win – something few would have predicted when Kovač departed for Bavaria.
Yet under Adi Hütter, Die Adler are on course to finish sixth having reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals only to be halted by Chelsea on penalties. However, their form domestically has suffered and after winning five in a row in all competitions through March, they are now winless in six with a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen the low point.
However with 27-goal Luka Jović leading the line, they cannot be discounted. The Serbian is in the second year of a two-year loan spell from SL Benfica and will make the switch to the Commerzbank-Arena permanent this summer.
But don’t expect him to remain for long – Jović has reportedly drawn admiring glances from some of Europe’s biggest clubs ahead of the summer’s transfer window. He is third in the Bundesliga goal charts with only Paco Alcácer of Dortmund (18) and Bayern’s own Robert Lewandowski (22) ahead of him.
But there is more to Frankfurt than just Jović. Sébastian Haller (19 goals) and Ante Rebić (10 goals) complete their front three, while winger Filip Kostić has been a handy pick-up on loan from relegated Hamburg, weighing in with ten strikes in all competitions.
Bayern, of course, are not lacking in goal threat themselves. Lewandowski, who earlier this season eclipsed Claudio Pizarro to become the top-scoring foreign player in Bundesliga history, will win his fourth Bundesliga Top Goalscorer award barring a miraculous turn of events.
This game also represents the end of an era for Bayern as two totemic figures from a decade of dominance wave goodbye to the Allianz Arena.
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry have both confirmed they will leave once their contracts end this summer and, regardless of the outcome in the title race, there is sure to be an outpouring of emotion come full time.
However, victory in front of their fans will be something special for Bayern and their supporters. Despite having won comfortably more Bundesliga titles than any other German club, Die Roten have never wrapped up the league at the Allianz Arena.
The atmosphere in Munich will definitely be incredible,” coach Kovač told the club’s website. “The last time it happened was 19 years ago.” Bayern last clinched the league in front of their supporters in 1999/2000 when they beat Werder Bremen 3-1 at their then-home, the Olympic Stadium.
“We want to win at home so that we will then definitely be champions,” added Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. You would not back against Bayern’s wish being granted.