Bundesliga 2019/20 finish
Coming back off an impressive season, the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign was one to forget for Eintracht Frankfurt. Between Sebastien Haller, Luka Jović and Ante Rebić, the trio scored 41 and created 19 goals between them in the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign and with all moving on to new projects, it was the job of Adi Hütter and his recruitment team to replace the formidable trio. Gonçalo Paciência finally got his chance, Bas Dost returned to Germany following a spell in Portugal and Andrè Silva arrived on a two-year loan from AC Milan but Eintracht could only manage a measly ninth place finish, behind Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg and Freiburg.
Die Adler started their 2019/20 strong with just two defeats in their opening eight games but Eintracht followed that up with 10 defeats in their next 17 games. Covid-19 came as a welcomed distraction, picking up 17 points from a possible 30 after the restart which propelled them up the table. Eintracht, a club with ambition, however, were unable to qualify for a place in Europe for the 2020/21 campaign. The financial impact Covid-19 has had on the club is evident, with Eintracht failing to make substantial moves in the transfer market thus far. Silva signed a three-year contract with Eintracht Frankfurt just one-year into his two-year loan spell, whilst Steven Zuber arrived from Hoffenheim with Mijat Gaćinović heading in the opposite direction. Even though funds are scarce, Eintracht have a nice blend of youth and experience and when things click, Hütter’s side are a joy to watch.
Likely starting XI
Filip Kostić – Winger
An arrival on loan from Hamburger SV in 2018 following their relegation to the 2. Bundesliga, Filip Kostić impressed under Niko Kovač before the Croat was appointed as head coach of Bayern Munich. The Serbian was a key player under Kovač and he’s a player whom he tried to sign at Bayern. However, Eintracht moved swiftly to sign Kostić on a permanent deal for €6 million after HSV failed to gain instant promotion back into the top flight.
Under both Kovač back then and Hütter now, Eintracht operate with a three-man defence which suits Kostić down to a tee. The Serbia international operates on the left-flank, dropping back to make it a five-man defence when out of possession but also to push forward when Eintracht have the ball. 11 assists under Kovač in his first season at Eintracht and 12 assists during the 2019/20 campaign under Hütter, Kostič has become Eintracht’s most important player. The 27-year-old is finally getting the recognition he deserves: “He’s been giving everything for the club for months now, showing outstanding qualities on the field and off it. He impressed me from day one, and I’m delighted he’s been able to get his reward again with two goals today,” said Hütter after his brace against VfB Stuttgart.
His explosive pace and a rocket left-foot, the Serb has done incredibly well to stay injury free and if Eintracht can keep their key players this season whilst adding to the squad, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kostič to beat his record of 12 assists in a Bundesliga campaign.
Signing to watch
André Silva – Attacker
Although already at the club, the permanent signing of Portugal international André Silva shows a statement of intent and it’s a move that works for all parties. It will likely result in Ante Rebić remaining at AC Milan but in Silva, Eintracht now have a goalscorer. According to Bild, the Bundesliga club paid just €9 million to sign the 24-year-old, a smart business move on Eintracht’s behalf. Silva finished Eintracht’s top scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 12 – the only player to reach double figures. An impressive start to life in Germany yielded three goals in his opening four Bundesliga games before an injury knocked his confidence, failing to score in seven games. It wasn’t until the return of German football that Silva started scoring on the regular again. Eight goals in the next 10 Bundesliga games prompted Eintracht to purchase Silva outright and with a recognised No. 9 spearheading their attack next season, SGE have done incredibly well after moving swiftly to sign Silva on a permanent basis.
A strong spine
If you want to be successful in football, it’s important to have a strong spine. With Germany international Kevin Trapp between the sticks and defensive stalwart Martin Hinteregger ahead of him, Eintracht Frankfurt have defensive stability alongside the talented Evan N’Dicka, who reaped praise from club bosses around Germany, which has also seen him linked with a move to the Premier League. A double-pivot of Sebastian Rode and Djibril Sow in midfield adds stability with Filip Kostić and Danny da Costa/Timothy Chandler providing width on the flanks. Gonçalo Paciência is slowly finding his form and with André Silva now tied down to a three-year contract, Eintracht’s probable starting XI looks strong. With the likes of Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg yet to make significant transfers, Eintracht have already placed themselves in a good position, whom they finished behind last season.
When Eintracht Frankfurt click, they really do. Adi Hütter’s 3-4-1-2 formation is a joy to behold and on their day, they can beat anyone. Their 5-1 defeat of Bayern Munich in November was the final nail in Niko Kovač’s coffin at Bayern, and that demolition just showcases the potential in this Eintracht squad. However, they don’t do it often enough. Last season, Eintracht lost to FC Köln, Freiburg, Wolfsburg, Paderborn and Union Berlin and if they want to finish in a European place, these are the teams they must beat. Eintracht took a 1-0 lead and 2-0 lead against Mainz and FC Köln respectively but went on to lost 2-1 and 4-2. Win those two games and Die Adler would be playing European football this season. It’s now up to Hütter and his coaching team to not sit on a lead, keep focus and see games out. That’s been Eintracht’s biggest downfall.
Again, expect Eintracht Frankfurt to be challenging the likes of Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg, Freiburg and Hertha Berlin for a European place. SGE are no longer a team constantly fighting against relegation but are instead have the potential to challenge the likes of Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen. Playing Arminia Bielefeld, Hertha Berlin, Hoffenheim and FC Köln in their opening four Bundesliga fixtures would give us a good indication of where Eintracht are. If they add to the additions of Silva and Zuber whilst keeping hold of their key players, we could well be seeing Eintracht up there.