Eintracht Frankfurt can meanwhile keep up with the big players in the league, but the new quality still has to get into people’s heads and legs. The guest appearance in Augsburg could be a milestone.
The training week of Eintracht Frankfurt started on Wednesday with good news: Djibril Sow was back on the training ground after his unclear Corona test result and the forced break against Borussia Dortmund and mixed with his teammates without restrictions. The Swiss, who was in domestic isolation in the meantime, will probably return to the starting line-up against FC Augsburg on Sunday (3:30 p.m.) and take on the role of conductor in midfield. That was exactly where it was against BVB.
Now it is by no means the case that the 2-3 defeat after two-goal lead is only due to the absence of Sow. An organizing hand in midfield would have been a good match for the game of Eintracht and could ultimately prevent the momentous passivity in the second round. “We have to reproach ourselves for managing too much. We didn’t look for the solutions to the front and were punished for it,” coach Oliver Glasner honestly admitted after the final whistle. Finding the right mix: Sows special discipline and at the same time the greatest weakness of Hessen.
Eintracht invites Dortmund
Against BVB, Eintracht initially failed to use one of the options available to make it 3-0 and decide the game at short notice. After around 50 minutes, the team withdrew further and further and left the field completely to the guests from Dortmund. At the latest after the strength-related substitutions of Sebastian Rode and Jepser Lindström (66th minute of the game), there was virtually no relief for the already heavily demanded defense. The beginning of the end. “It was a bit like the rabbit in front of the queue,” summarized Glasner.
The Eintracht invited BVB formally to score goals, this thanked and went after three hits within the last 20 minutes but still as the winner from the field. “You can see that we are progressing step by step. That is a tough lesson today,” said Glasner. The Hessians were and are on the right path, but they still lack the courage and confidence in their own strength to create a top team. Just keep going.
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The pressure is increasing
Even in the very successful final spurt of the first half of the season in which Eintracht stormed from 16th to sixth place, coach Glasner’s team had been too careless after tours. It went well against Union Berlin (2: 1) and Mainz 05 (1: 0), but not in Hoffenheim (2: 3) and now against BVB. In terms of football, as the first half on Saturday proved, Die Eintracht currently doesn’t have to hide from anyone. But that is exactly what has to get into the minds. Because: times have changed.
Since before the turn of the year it was often a matter of catching up on arrears or taking advantage of outsider opportunities, Eintracht now has something to lose. The starting position in the race for Europe is good. The pressure to suddenly be one of the hunted, but increased at the same time. The many last-minute goals are a sign of the mentality, now it is time to take the next step and play games consistently and seriously over 90 minutes. The next stage of development.
Augsburg becomes the position determination
Fittingly, Eintracht will meet an opponent on Sunday who, despite investing millions in the winter break, is not just in the back of the table. Augsburg, who also started losing in 2022, will do a devil and play the game themselves. Means: For the first time in weeks, Eintracht will take the initiative and have to seize the party. The guest appearance in Fuggerstadt could be a milestone for this very reason.
“We have to draw the right conclusions from the defeat against Dortmund,” said Glasner. Should Eintracht manage to live up to their role as favorites and find the right balance on the lawn, a lot is possible in the coming weeks and months. But she still has to provide proof that she can cope with this new role.