Eintracht Frankfurt enters their seventh consecutive season in the Bundesliga with two new titles: DFB-Pokal champions and Europa League participants. They’ve traditionally been a mid-table team that has recently competed much better in cup competitions thanks to their former manager Niko Kovac. Can they improve upon last season’s finish and bring a European competition trophy back to the Waldstadion?
Bundesliga: 8th place – 49 pts. (14W-7D-13L)
DFB-Pokal: Champions – Win vs. Bayern Munich, 3-1
Seriously, what a season for Frankfurt! I’m sure if you asked fans of Die Adler what they their season expectations were of the season, I’ll bet you they didn’t think top eight and lifting the Pokal trophy. Sure they lose five of their last seven Bundesliga games, but you could attribute that to a greater focus on cup competition. Their Pokal win over Bayern Munich brought them their fifth Pokal title in club history and their first trophy since they won the 2. Bundesliga in 1997/98, qualifying them directly into the Europa League group stages.
Evan N’Dicka (CB) – AJ Auxerre – €5 million
Lucas Torro (DM) – Real Madrid – €3 million
Goncalo Paciencia (CF) – FC Porto – €3 million
Frederik Ronnow (GK) – Brondby IF – €2.8 million
Carlos Salcedo (CB) – Chivas Guadalajara – €2.5 million
Ante Rebic (LW) – Fiorentina – €2 million
Chico Geraldes (AM) – Sporting CP – Loan
Felix Weidwald (GK) – Leeds United – Free
Nicolai Muller (RW) – Hamburg – Free
Allan (CM) – Liverpool U23 – Loan
Marius Wolf (RM) – Borussia Dortmund – €5 million
Omar Mascarell (DM) – Real Madrid – €4 million
Aymen Barkok (AM) – Fortuna Dusseldorf – Loan
Leon Batage (GK) – Wurzburg – Free
Kevin-Prince Boateng (CB) – Sassuolo – Free
Lukas Hradecky (GK) – Bayer Leverkusen – Free
Renat Dadashov (CF) – Estoril – Free
Max Besuschov (CM) – Saint Gilloise – Loan
The transfers out of the club stand out much more than who the club brought in. Hradecky and Wolf stand out immediately, with Hradecky being the highlight to me as he started nearly every game for the club since he arrived in 2015-16, and on a free no less! However, there was an even bigger outgoing transfer and that’s the loss of manager Niko Kovac to the evil empire known as Bayern Munich. Kovac was instrumental in keeping Frankfurt in the top division, coming within a goal of winning the DFB-Pokal in 16-17, and winning the Pokal in 17-18.
As for guys they brought in, they signed Rebic and Salcedo on permanent deals after loans from their respective clubs. They both had good seasons with Frankfurt, and it made sense for Frankfurt to bring them in permanently. I don’t know a whole lot about their incoming signings, but they brought in two goalkeepers to replace Hradecky and a young centerback in Evan N’Dicka for a nice sum of money.
Frankfurt have a tall challenge before them. Not only are they dealing with losing their starting goalkeeper and their top centerback, they’ve seen their manager for the last three seasons leave them for the top dog in Germany. That’s got to be tough to deal with for any club, but for one that isn’t known for sustained success this could be really bad.
Add in at least six additional matches across Europe thanks to qualifying directly to Europa League group stage, their depth will be tested in a way that they haven’t had to deal with as a club since the 2013-14 season. It’s just another bump in the road for a team that overperformed and is dealing with a new manager
If Koln taught us anything, it’s that having extra Europa League matches will stretch your team too thin and cause you to perform poorly in the league, resulting in relegation. Koln might have been a worse team last year than Frankfurt is this season, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them suffer domestically thanks to European competition. Losing their manager and having to replace a number of important players from last season also makes me think we’ll be seeing Die Adler on the struggle bus as they fight just to stay up.