Category Archives: Eintracht Frankfurt

Bundesliga Review – 4th place race to provide exciting finale by Archie Rhind-Tutt

As you probably know by now, the Bundesliga’s great. In fact, such is the extensive coverage it has recently received, you can probably recite off by heart all of the reasons for it being so. But, from a competitive point of view, the end of this season could be an anti-climax. The title race is over (unless Bayern Munich appoint Michael Skibbe) and at the bottom, it’s just a case of Hoffenheim, Augsburg and Greuther Fürth sorting out who plays in the promotion/relegation play off.

Fortunately, the battle for the final Champions League spot, known more dourly as fourth place, looks intriguing as we enter the final 12 games of the season. Seven points separate seven teams, though there’s a few who are unlikely to make it such as Gladbach, Hannover and Schalke.

Borussia Mönchengladbach may have done it last season but Lucien Favre’s team haven’t quite recovered from losing players like Marco Reus and Dante, who have been brilliant since moving on to Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively. Losing to Hamburg this weekend leaves them seven adrift of fourth but playing in the Europa League has been a bit of a hindrance as Hannover can perhaps testify too.

The 96’s main problems though are away from home. Mirko Slomka’s side only won twice on the road last season and whilst they’ve matched the total this time around, Hannover had lost their previous four away games before drawing at lowly Nuremberg. That result may sound encouraging but Slomka saw his team lose the lead twice on Sunday, including a 91st minute equaliser from the home side’s Sebastian Polter. Still, Hannover are 8th meaning they’re above Schalke.

And when it comes to surprises, the Royal Blues’s capitulation ranks alongside the resignation of a certain German holy figure in the last week. Because much like the Pope, thousands gather to watch Schalke each week but in contrast, those decked in blue have been leaving bitterly disappointed. They’ve witnessed just one win in their last 11 games, yet new signing Michel Bastos seems to be on a solo crusade to drag Schalke forward. He scored twice in the weekend’s draw against Mainz, however, after little impact from new coach Jens Keller, fourth place looks very unlikely given their recent form.

Their opponents on Saturday, seventh placed Mainz, aren’t exactly front runners either but they are not a team to be underestimated. In Thomas Tuchel, they have one of the best, if not the best, young coaches in the country. He’s had relative success on a small budget and the fact that they are even close to a Champions League place is testament to Tuchel and Mainz as a club. Even so, the lack of a clinical touch at the weekend, against a weak Schalke side, showed why fourth may be beyond them for now.

For Hamburg, Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt though, the Champions League spot is a realistic possibility – and that’s surprising in each case. Hamburg finished fourth from bottom last season and have recovered from a nightmarish start this time around. Freiburg, like Mainz, are the provincial low budget outsiders who are overachieving spectacularly under Christian Streich. A year ago, they were bottom of the Bundesliga but Streich guided them to safety and even greater heights this season. Meanwhile, the current occupants of fourth place, Eintracht Frankfurt weren’t even in the Bundesliga last season. Since their promotion from the second tier though, they’ve looked very comfortable in the higher echelons of the top flight.

And from an unbiased viewpoint, what’s not to like about seeing three teams who would have been considered unlikely candidates at the start of the season all with genuine chances of reaching at least the qualification stage of the Champions League. Which team that will be is difficult to judge especially due to the lack of consistency each has shown. Still,  it was unsurprising to see Eintracht Frankfurt defeated comprehensively at Borussia Dortmund this weekend (and more specifically, by the magnificent Marco Reus who netted a hat-trick). That allowed Hamburg and Freiburg to close in on the Eagles.

Rafael van der Vaart, a player who has been a significant catalyst in Hamburg’s charge up the table, swerved a spectacular effort into the top corner to defeat Borussia Mönchengladbach in an otherwise dull affair. In contrast, Freiburg won an entertaining five goal thriller away at Werder Bremen in a game characterised by suspect defending. That’s not been typical of Freiburg this season, with only Bayern Munich conceding less goals. However, Streich’s team showed their character, having been pegged back twice after taking the lead, by scoring a third and decisive goal through Mathias Ginter. With Freiburg taking on Eintracht Frankfurt this Friday night, the race for that final Champions League spot could be even tighter come next Saturday.

But who will make it to fourth? Well, where’s the excitement in football when you know what’s going to happen. The fact each team has its flaws is part of what will make the race for fourth the most exciting aspect of the final games of the Bundesliga’s 50th season.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Bayern shaped up for their Champions League trip to London with a win at Wolfsburg on Friday night. The leaders weren’t as free flowing as they have been for most of the season, but the discipline they displayed showed why the Bavarians will be Bundesliga Champions come May. There were flashes of brilliance from Jupp Heynckes’s side too with Mario Mandzukic’s overhead kick the undoubted highlight of his return to former club Wolfsburg.
  • At the bottom of the table, Augsburg suffered their first defeat of 2013 at the BayArena with Bayer Leverkusen inspired by Stefan Kiessling. The joint top-scorer in the division headed in the first before setting up the second. Augsburg scored a late consolation through Sascha Mölders. The result didn’t affect Augsburg’s predicament at the bottom though as the side below them, Greuther Fürth, lost away at Fortuna Düsseldorf and the team above them, Hoffenheim, were beaten at home by Stuttgart.

Matchday 22 Results:

Wolfsburg 0-2 Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Augsburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-0 Fürth

Hamburg 1-0 Gladbach

Mainz 2-2 Schalke

Werder Bremen 2-3 Freiburg

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Nuremberg 2-2 Hannover

Hoffenheim 0-1 Stuttgart

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 22 18 3 1 57:7 +50 57 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 22 12 6 4 50:26 +24 42 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 22 12 5 5 43:30 +13 41 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 22 11 4 7 38:34 +4 37 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 22 9 7 6 29:22 +7 34 EL* Qual.
6 Hamburger SV 22 10 4 8 27:27 0 34 EL* Qual.
7 1. FSV Mainz 05 22 9 5 8 30:27 +3 32
8 Hannover 96 22 9 3 10 41:41 0 30
9 FC Schalke 04 22 8 6 8 35:37 -2 30
10 Borussia Mönchengladbach 22 7 9 6 31:33 -2 30
11 SV Werder Bremen 22 8 4 10 38:41 -3 28
12 VfB Stuttgart 22 8 4 10 24:39 -15 28
13 Fortuna Düsseldorf 22 7 6 9 27:29 -2 27
14 1. FC Nuremberg 22 6 8 8 22:29 -7 26
15 VfL Wolfsburg 22 7 5 10 22:32 -10 26
16 1899 Hoffenheim 22 4 4 14 26:46 -20 16 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 22 2 9 11 18:35 -17 15 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 22 2 6 14 13:36 -23 12 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally written at Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Surprisingly Superb Starts for Eintracht and Fortuna by Archie Rhind-Tutt

 

In terms of population the cities of Frankfurt and Düsseldorf both rank in the top ten in Germany. Last season, neither city had a team gracing the top flight of German football. How times can change rapidly in football. After five games of the new season, the promoted pair of Eintracht Frankfurt and Fortuna Düsseldorf each occupy a place in the top five of the Bundesliga.

Their starts are made even more impressive when you consider that between the two teams, they signed an incredible 33 players (Eintracht 13, Fortuna 20) over the summer. The next time a coach complains about the fact his side needs more time to gel, frustrated directors and chairmen would do well to point to the case of Eintracht and Fortuna, who have acclimatized to the Bundesliga with ease. Tuesday night really emphasised this.

With the Bundesliga having an “English week” by playing midweek fixtures, it gave the duo another chance to show their performances in the first four games of the season have been no fluke. Neither Eintracht Frankfurt or Fortuna Düsseldorf disappointed either.

Fortuna actually faced up to the third team promoted from the 2. Bundesliga, Greuther Fürth. Their opponents haven’t been too bad this season but Fürth are the smallest of the trio to arrive in the division. Facing Bayern Munich and Schalke hasn’t helped their cause early on. Still, playing Fortuna Düsseldorf would have been seen as opportunity to get their first home win of the season. The visitors from North Rhine-Westphalia had other ideas as Oliver Fink and Ken Ilsö ensured a 2-0 win Norbert Meier’s side in Bavaria.

It also meant a fifth consecutive clean sheet for Fortuna, leading to Klaus Hoeltzenbein, in Süddeutsche Zeitung, describing Norbert Meier as the man who invented “The Rhine Catenaccio.” These days, when you hear the word “catenaccio” being used, it’s usually in a negative context. Meier can, and should, take it as a compliment, because Fortuna are the only team in Europe’s top leagues who haven’t conceded a goal this season.

You certainly won’t hear any such comparisons for Armin Veh’s Eintracht Frankfurt. They’ve entertained the division and became the first promoted side on Friday night to win their opening four games of the season. Their fifth game was always going to be tricky as they faced up to the current Champions of Germany, Borussia Dortmund.

The way Borussia have started the season has raised questions over whether they’ll be holding onto that tag for a third successive year. Bayern Munich look great, Dortmund’s defence appears dodgy and despite being 31 games unbeaten until last Saturday, BVB have struggled to find the rhythm with which they finished the previous campaign.

Things were going smoothly against Eintracht on Tuesday night. A deflected shot from Lukasz Piszczek and a sumptuous strike from Marco Reus gave Dortmund a two goal lead at half time. “When you lead 2-0, there is the iron law that it cannot be thrown away,” noted Jürgen Klopp.

In the second half Eintracht Frankfurt were to break this iron law as in the financial capital of Germany, Borussia Dortmund paid the price. Within six minutes of the restart the home side were level. Stefan Aigner netted the first with a magnificent half volley before setting up Takashi Inui for the equaliser. Dortmund went back in front through Mario Götze but after wasting further chances, BVB were pegged back again. Anderson headed in a second equaliser for Frankfurt, earning the home side a spectacular point.

“It was the best performance I’ve ever seen from a Frankfurt team,” claimed Klopp, sent to the stands late on for squaring up to an official (and making one of the more incredible facial expressions of the season so far). His frustration would not have been quelled in the knowledge that Bayern Munich had won comfortably against Wolfsburg, leaving the Champions seven points behind the Bavarians.

In contrast, newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt are just two points off the top of the league. Along with Fortuna Düsseldorf, they’ve started the season in sparkling style. Now the real challenge begins for both – maintaining it. A word of warning must go to Eintracht especially. In November 2010, they were 4th in the Bundesliga but ended up getting relegated after a wretched run of form.

Survival remains the goal for both sides. Still, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf may be in Germany’s top ten cities for size and come May, they might each have a team in the Bundesliga’s top ten too, should Eintracht and Fortuna continue their excellent form.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 5 Results:

Bayern Munich 3-0 Wolfsburg

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-3 Borussia Dortmund

Fürth 0-2 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Schalke 3-0 Mainz

Augsburg 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen

Freiburg 1-2 Werder Bremen

Gladbach 2-2 Hamburg

Hannover 4-1 Nuremberg

Stuttgart 0-3 Hoffenheim

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 5 5 0 0 17:2 +15 15 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 5 4 1 0 14:7 +7 13 CL*
3 Hannover 96 5 3 1 1 14:8 +6 10 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 5 3 1 1 10:5 +5 10 CL* Qual.
5 Fortuna Düsseldorf 5 2 3 0 4:0 +4 9 EL* Qual.
6 Borussia Dortmund 5 2 2 1 11:8 +3 8 EL* Qual.
7 SV Werder Bremen 5 2 1 2 9:8 +1 7
8 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 5 2 1 2 7:7 0 7
9 1. FC Nuremberg 5 2 1 2 7:9 -2 7
10 Borussia Mönchengladbach 5 1 3 1 7:7 0 6
11 1899 Hoffenheim 5 2 0 3 10:12 -2 6
12 SC Freiburg 5 1 2 2 7:8 -1 5
13 VfL Wolfsburg 5 1 2 2 2:8 -6 5
14 Hamburger SV 5 1 1 3 7:10 -3 4
15 1. FSV Mainz 05 5 1 1 3 4:8 -4 4
16 Greuther Fürth 5 1 1 3 2:8 -6 4 Play-offs
17 VfB Stuttgart 5 0 2 3 3:12 -9 2 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 5 0 1 4 2:10 -8 1 Relegation

Table from Official Bundesliga Website

Originally written @ Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Faces old and new shine on opening weekend – by Archie Rhind-Tutt

The Bundesliga has steadily built a reputation of being an entertaining and competitive division. The competitive part has waned a touch over the last few years, but at the start of its 50th season, Germany’s premier division proved it is both entertaining and competitive. After all, only two games were won by more than a goal this weekend. The league has also garnered a reputation of uncovering new talent but on the first weekend, credit had to go to both last seasons’ top performers and to the division’s necomers.

Take Fortuna Düsseldorf’s Dani Schahin for instance. He was one of an incredible 20 new signings for Fortuna who are back in the Bundesliga for the first time in 15 years. What’s more, he was unsure if he’d even be in the squad for the first game. Schahin ended up scoring both goals in a 2-0 away at last year’s surprise package Augsburg. Such was his performance it even led to an unlikely invite that evening to “Aktuelle Sport Studio,” one of Germany’s most prestigious sports shows. Elsewhere, there was also a debut goal for Wolfsburg’s new striker Bas Dost who struck an 89th minute winner. It came just two minutes after Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic had won a penalty, had it saved and missed the rebound from just a few yards – a strangely impressive achievement.

Yet, it was hard to ignore the efforts of some of last season’s stars. Marco Reus is an obvious starting point, what with Borussia Dortmund playing the first game and with the high profile nature of his move from Borussia Mӧnchengladbach. It took the German Player of the Year just 11 minutes against Werder Bremen to get his first goal for Dortmund. BVB weren’t at their best though and Theodor Gebre-Selassie’s goal (another new signing doing well) threatened to spoil the Champions opening game. Mario Gӧtze’s late winner though ensured Borussia started with a win meaning its 29 league games unbeaten now for the Champions.

It was victory for the Bundesliga’s other Borussia too with Gladbach securing a 2-1 home win. They beat Hoffenheim, the only side to defeat them at the Borussia Park last year. This was mainly down to one of their heroes from last season, Juan Arango. The Venezuelan set up Gladbach’s opener by curling in a free-kick to Mike Hanke to nod home. He then scored their winner – a free-kick on the edge of the box, which he dispatched into the corner. This led to Arango proclaiming after the game “I shoot sharper than Ronaldo,” a statement he might struggle to back up this season, even if his left foot is somewhat mercurial. Still, Arango certainly helped to lift spirits in Gladbach ahead of their daunting trip to Kiev on Wednesday, where they’ll have to score at least three if they want to qualify for the Champions League.

Bayern Munich and Schalke have no such problems on that front – both have qualified direct to the Champions League group stages. They were the two sides that finished just ahead of Gladbach last season and some of the usual suspects were on form again over the weekend. Even though he is a new signing, Mario Mandzukic comes into this bracket for Bayern, as he’s effectively proven himself in the Bundesliga. The ex-Wolfsburg striker scored his first in the Bavarians 3-0 win at newly promoted Greuther Fürth with Thomas Müller and Arjen Robben grabbing the others.

Schalke meanwhile were the only one of last season’s top four not to win on the opening weekend as they were held in Lower Saxony by Hannover. That didn’t stop last season’s Bundesliga top scorer, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, from opening his account for this campaign. He scored the equaliser after Hannover’s centre back Felipe (yet another new signing) netted the opener just before half time. Lewis Holtby put the away side in front before another one of Hannover’s new signings Adrian Nikci came off the bench and rescued a point for Mirko Slomka’s side.

So as far as opening weekends go, this was a good one, not just for players old and new, but also for their teams. Three of the top four won whilst two of the three promoted sides gained impressive victories – the standout being Eintracht Frankfurt’s win over Bayer Leverkusen. For now though, you can’t make too much of these results as it is so early on in the campaign. Nevertheless, when it comes to reaching 50, the Bundesliga certainly did so in the exciting manner it has become renowned for.

Matchday One Results:

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Werder Bremen

Augsburg 0-2 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Freiburg 1-1 Mainz

Fürth 0-3 Bayern Munich

Gladbach 2-1 Hoffenheim

Hamburg 0-1 Nuremberg

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Stuttgart 0-1 Wolfsburg

Hannover 2-2 Schalke

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 1 1 0 0 3:0 +3 3 CL*
2 Fortuna Düsseldorf 1 1 0 0 2:0 +2 3 CL*
3 Borussia Dortmund 1 1 0 0 2:1 +1 3 CL*
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 1 0 0 2:1 +1 3
Eintracht Frankfurt 1 1 0 0 2:1 +1 3
6 1. FC Nuremberg 1 1 0 0 1:0 +1 3 EL* Qual.
VfL Wolfsburg 1 1 0 0 1:0 +1 3
8 FC Schalke 04 1 0 1 0 2:2 0 1
Hannover 96 1 0 1 0 2:2 0 1
10 1. FSV Mainz 05 1 0 1 0 1:1 0 1
SC Freiburg 1 0 1 0 1:1 0 1
12 1899 Hoffenheim 1 0 0 1 1:2 -1 0
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1 0 0 1 1:2 -1 0
SV Werder Bremen 1 0 0 1 1:2 -1 0
15 Hamburger SV 1 0 0 1 0:1 -1 0
VfB Stuttgart 1 0 0 1 0:1 -1 0
17 FC Augsburg 1 0 0 1 0:2 -2 0 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 1 0 0 1 0:3 -3 0 Relegation

Table from Official Bundesliga Website

Article originally published on Football Fan Cast

Resisting the Frankfurt Doctrine

Come on in the Apfelwein is lovely

When Andrew van Leeuwen moved to Germany he thought he’d be free to follow his beloved Mainz. However, as he tells the Bundesliga Lounge, some pesky Eintracht Frankfurt fans have other plans for him.

I have a love/hate relationship with Eintracht Frankfurt.

There’s no real reason for me to dislike Eintracht. My wife is from Hessen, and I absolutely love Apfelwein, the native alcoholic beverage of Frankfurt.

I don’t even mind the way Eintracht Frankfurt play football. They have some exciting play makers, which, coupled with their lacklustre defence, makes for entertaining football. And, if nothing else, you can have a good laugh watching Alex Meier’s six-five frame galloping around a football pitch, or calling Oka Nikolov the Ryan Giggs of goalkeeping (he debuted for Frankfurt’s youth team in 1991!), or just wondering what Benjamin Köhler was thinking last time he got his hair cut.

But, despite all those reasons to love Eintracht Frankfurt, part of me still hates them. Part of me likes seeing them lose. And the only reason I want them back in the 1.Bundesliga is so that I can watch Mo Zidan connect with anything that flies through those massive holes in Frankfurt’s defence when they inevitably play Mainz 05 next season. These facts are harsh, but true.

The reason I have this strange disdain for Eintracht is because of my friends. Now, I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the world, but in Australia, losing to your friends is worse than losing to your enemies. Very few will admit this, but deep down we all know that seeing a friend’s favourite club do well when your favourite club is doing poorly sucks. Sharing that happiness in any beyond a polite ‘well done’ and a forced smile is basically impossible. Again, harsh, but true.

I don’t live in Australia anymore. I now live in Germany, and, in case you hadn’t already guessed, 90 percent of my friends here are Eintracht Frankfurt supporters. That’s fine; they’re all good blokes who have welcomed me into their group. They love a Weizen and a bembel or two of Apfelwein, and that’s just fine with me.

But if I hear someone say ‘Eintracht Frankfurt is just a much better club than Mainz’ one more time, in any language, I’m going to scream.

The point that they’re trying to make isn’t, necessarily, too wide of the mark. In terms of ‘fanatic’ support, Mainz is a long way behind some of the other clubs, and according to my somewhat biased friends, the team’s stint in the 2.Bundesliga reaped some pretty embarrassing crowd figures (I can’t confirm or deny that, as it was long before my fascination with the league began).

And no, Mainz fans don’t command a huge police presence when they travel away. They aren’t famous for their pyrotechnics, and they probably never will be.

But the Mainz support isn’t all that bad, either. I’ve only been to the Coface Arena once, and there was 30,000 people there against Hannover, the away crowd only making a very modest contribution to the overall crowd number. Sure, Mainz have stolen You’ll Never Walk Alone from Liverpool – but so have heaps and heaps of professional clubs.

More than just apple juice

At the end of the day, flares and original songs aren’t the barometer of passion. The roar of the crowd when a goal is scored, or during a particularly beautiful passage of play, is what it’s all about. The actual size of that crowd, or the size of their flags and banners, is beside the point. It’s how the fans feel when their team is performing.

The funny thing is that I’ve been to more Eintracht games than Mainz games during my short stint as a German. I’ve seen a lot, from the 6-1 demolition of FSV Frankfurt to the 4-2 loss in Paderborn (or Paderbornska, as the Frankfurt fans were calling it after a stint out of European competition). And it’s been great. There are flares and chanting and jumping and bedlam when the ball finds the back of the net. In Paderborn, we watched as the local police outnumbered the fans as they walked from the city centre to the modest ground. It’s been fascinating to experience, some great football as a neutral fan, and I look forward to seeing plenty more Eintracht games.

But none of those things make me want to be an Eintracht supporter. I’ll stick with my little club – despite some external pressures to switch sides from my mates.

Because that’s what football is all about.