Eintracht Frankfurt: Bundesliga’s Wild Card Team
Slow out of the gate this season, reigning DFB-Pokal champions Frankfurt are now showing the Bundesliga who they really are. A talented team, with a new manager, Frankfurt are hoping to compete in multiple competitions, as they look to outdo last season’s eight- place finish.
Now ten games into the new Bundesliga season, Frankfurt continue to look like legitimate contenders. Sitting third in the table after Friday night’s win over bottom feeders Stuttgart, Eintracht now sits four points behind Borussia Dortmund and just two points behind Bayern Munich. Winning four of their previous five games, the Eagles have jumped from 15th after matchday five all the way up to third after Friday’s 3-0 away win. This is a team still in transition after losing former manager Niko Kovač in the summer. However, the team’s new boss deserves credit for the role he’s played in the team’s rise this season.
Finishing eighth in the Bundesliga and winning the DFB-Pokal under Kovač, it’s fair to say Frankfurt overachieved last season. Likely the reason Kovač got the Bayern job, Frankfurt were left looking for a new manager to replace the overachieving Kovač. The replacement came from an unlikely source, the Swiss Super League. Helping Swiss club Young Boys win their first league title since 1986, Adi Hütter was the man set to take the helm at Frankfurt. The appointment came as a surprise to many, but Hütter is clearly a capable manager. Hütter had also won the Austrian Bundesliga in 2015 with Red Bull Salzburg.
Since taking over, Hütter has kept Kovač’s system in place, a system most Bundesliga teams hate to play against. Hütter’s time with Eintracht started slow, with the team sitting 15th in the league after matchday five. The Austrian manager also lost his first competitive game in charge, losing 5-0 to Kovač’s Bayern. Since their poor start to the new season, Frankfurt haven’t looked back. Hütter has successfully integrated the team’s off-season additions, carrying Frankfurt out of their early-season slump. This group plays as a team, that alone makes them a threat on a weekly basis.
Eintracht’s Deadly Trio
Most managers would give anything for a quality striker, it’s what every good team needs to truly be successful. Frankfurt have three of them and on Friday night we got the opportunity to see all three play together. Luka Jović, Sébastien Haller and Ante Rebić have been deadly so far this season, leading Frankfurt to third in the Bundesliga. Jović has nine goals and three assists in all competitions, including a remarkable five-goal performance against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Currently on-loan from Benfica, Eintracht already have a deal in place to sign the Serbian striker next summer.
Starring for Croatia at the World Cup, Rebić has been a key player when healthy. Four goals in six Bundesliga games this season, Rebić plays a key role for his team, helping link midfield and attack. A hard worker, Rebić was linked with Manchester United in the summer, after playing a key role in Croatia reaching the World Cup Final.
Tall, quick and intelligent; Haller is a complete striker. The Frenchman has played a huge role in his team’s success, this season and the last. So far this campaign, the 24-year-old has scored seven goals in just ten Bundesliga games. A real team player, Haller also has five assists this season, linking up with Jović and Rebić on a weekly basis. As long as this front three is healthy, Frankfurt have a chance to win every game. An organised back three, a hard-working midfield and a deadly trio up front, the only way is up for this Frankfurt team.
Europa League Hopes
Losing in the opening round of the DFB-Pokal, Frankfurt’s hopes have now turned to the Bundesliga and the Europa League. Two key competitions for Hütter and his team, Eintracht will look to compete in both for as long as possible. Top of Group H, Hütter’s team look set for a deep run in this year’s competition. Unbeaten so far, Frankfurt sit on nine points, three ahead of Lazio in second and eight ahead of Marseille, who sit third. Set to play Cypriot club Apollon Limassol on Thursday, a win would see Frankfurt qualify for the knockout stages, with two games to spare.
Hütter has this group working well together, both going forward and defensively. A title challenge in the Bundesliga will be an almighty challenge, but a good run in the Europa League looks inevitable. You never quite know what you’re going to get with this team, which is a good reason to keep an eye on Hütter and his talented group of players.