From the Eintracht Frankfurt website.
With an 87th minute goal by Gekas (his 14th of the season) Eintracht grabbed three points against Borussia Dortmund who had won all their away games this season before and came unbeaten in 15 league games. This is now Eintracht’s most successful first half of a season in 17 years.
With both central defenders Franz and Russ out of action and also Chris missing Eintracht’s back four was fragmental. Luckily Tzavellas was able to start on the left, but manager Skibbe still had to improvise. He came up with a surprising move, the influential defensive midfielder Pirmin Schwegler moved back to the center of defense and Ricardo Clark (in his first start this season) played alongside Koehler in midfield.
Borussia Dortmund came to Frankfurt as the team of the season so far, leading the Bundesliga standings by a margin and about to break various records with a win in Frankfurt (most away wins in a row, best first half of the season ever and so on). But Eintracht showed a passionate and spirited performance making clear they would not give this one away too easily. The first 30 minutes were even and slightly quiet, the biggest chance falling to Meier after only two minutes when he had a shot from close range but BVB goalkeeper Weidenfeller saved.
After half an hour the Eagles became more confident, Gekas had a go from an Ochs throughball but again Weidenfeller saved. The following corner was crossed in by Tzavellas and Clark headed the ball just wide. The US American showed a good performance and five minutes later had another shot, this time from long range, again close but wide. Then Dortmund seemed to wake up and had three scoring opportunities in succession in the final five minutes of the first half: Goetze’s shot after some confusion in Eintracht’s defense was too weak, Sahin’s freekick was off target despite being close, and Barrios’ shot from close range went over the cross bar. The 0-0 half time score was fair.
It was a much livelier second half, and while the 51,500 in the sold out Commerzbank Arena felt the limitations of the hosts and the abilities of the guests it was an open, intense and exciting game now. Koehler had a cracking shot from about 20 meters which went just wide of the top right corner of the Dortmund goal (50′). BVB’s Japanese shooting star Kagawa chipped the ball over defender Vasoski but Faehrmann was just able to save the effort (63’). Then a Sahin cross from far range went onto the cross bar of the Eintracht goal (65’).
Eintracht’s defense struggled but stood strong, with an outstanding Pirmin Schwegler who did not need a minute to adjust to the new position in central defense. He was surprisingly powerful in the air but also played kind of an oldschool ‘libero’ – a playmaker in defense. Vasoski who only recently came back from a long term injury also showed a great attitude, Clark and Koehler gave their all in midfield, captain Ochs – as usual – never gave up. It was a passionate performance by the Eintracht unit as a whole against the mighty Borussia.
Still, a little luck was needed when Barrios was through on goal in minute 86, his shot from around seven meters touched the cross bar and went over. The following Eintracht attack decided the game. Gekas lead the ball in midfield and passed it to Jung on the right who had a run and passed it into the box. Fenin backheeled the ball to Gekas who already had positioned himself in the box again. The Greek ‘Phenomenon’ hit it straight into goal with an unstoppable finish. It was his 14th goal of the season, he is Bundesliga’s top scorer.
Thanks to this passionate win Eintracht has managed to bring the first half of the Bundesliga season 2010/11 to a happy end, it was their best one in 17 years. Ranked seventh in the standings with 26 points Frankfurt will go into the winter break. The fans will have a perfect Christmas if the Eagles top it by winning next Wednesday’s DFB Cup game away to Alemannia Aachen in the round of the last 16 (kick off 20.30h CET).