After slipping to defeat in their opening Uhrencup games, both FC Luzern and Eintracht Frankfurt will go again at Tissot Arena on Friday (20:00 CET) in the hope of rounding of their tournament on a high.
Thomas Haberli’s Luzern go into the contest the more confident of the two sides, after holding Crystal Palace to a 1:1 draw and eventually losing out on penalties. But Luzern’s man-of-the-match on the night, Pascal Schurpf, has already warned that Die Leuchten cannot afford another slow start if they are to come out on top against Eintracht.
Luzern fell behind on Tuesday to Christian Benteke’s second-minute opener before Schurpf’s close-range volley levelled on the night, and the wide-man was also quick to emphasise post-match that their end product in the final-third has room for improvement. This is an aspect that Haberli will surely have had his team working on in training before they face Bundesliga outfit Eintracht, and more vitally before travelling to St. Gallen for their Swiss domestic league opener next weekend.
The post-mortem from Eintracht’s opening Uhrencup match was somewhat more extensive for manager Adi Hutter. He saw his team’s frailties and lack of match sharpness brutally exposed by the slickness of Young Boys on Wednesday evening, Guillaume Hoarau’s early header sending the Swiss on their way to a 5-1 mauling of Eintracht, with the only consolation coming four minutes from time when Dean Joveljic smartly tucked in from Daichi Kamada’s square pass.
Defence and being switched on from the outset will be a key focus for Hutter and his side as they look to give a better account of themselves against Luzern, but with two different sides fielded in both halves, Hutter may now look to blend his better players together and try a different approach in pursuit of a positive result this time.
With his side’s profligacy in the final third proving costly on Tuesday, Haberli is likely to give his favoured attacking trio of Blessing Eleke, Christian Schneuwly and Pascal Schurpf more game-time so they are ready for next week’s league opener. Substitute on Tuesday Shkelqim Demhasaj may start alongside Eleke in the forward-line with Francesco Margiotta to come off the bench.
Haberli has regularly rotated goalkeepers throughout pre-season, so Loic Jacot is likely to start in-between the sticks in place of Marius Muller. Otar Kakabadze and Lucas Alves both started on the bench on Tuesday evening, so could be handed starts here. Simon Grether put in a positive performance against Crystal Palace and may keep his place. Eric Tia Chef has been tipped to start in midfield having also been an impact-sub in the previous game.
Having benched prolific forward Sebastien Haller against Young Boys, Adi Hutter may look to start the Frenchman in his favoured forward-line alongside Ante Rebic, with Dejan Joveljic completing the front-three after scoring on Wednesday. Experienced midfielder Makoto Hasebe came off the bench last time out and may be set to start this time alongside Jonathan De Guzman.
Evan Ndicka may be handed a start in what could be a stronger starting defence, whilst Felix Wiedwald could get his chance in goal after Frederik Ronnow completed the 90 minutes against Young Boys.