With Eintracht Frankfurt in the know for a few months that goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was not going to renew his contract, sporting director Bruno Hübner began his search for a new number 1 to replace the Finn, who had become one of the top keepers in the Bundesliga. The Adler settled on Danish international Frederik Rønnow. So just who is the highly rated goalkeeper?
Just as with Hradecky (whom they signed in 2015), Frankfurt found their man over at Brøndy IF in the Danish Superliga and just like with the now Bayer Leverkusen keeper, they have signed a potential star.
Rønnow, now 25, has long been rated as one of his country’s top goalkeepers having burst onto the scene as a youngster and very nearly joined Premier League side Crystal Palace in the January transfer window (only for the deal to collapse). He started out with his home-town club AC Horsens as a 16-year-old, but had to wait until March 2012 for his debut.
He became an instant hit in the Danish league with four clean sheets in his four first matches, while also appearing in the Danish Cup final in his debut season, making him the youngest goalkeeper to have ever done so (Horsens lost 1-0 to FC Copenhagen).
Established as the club’s first-choice for the following season, he was however unable to prevent Horsens being relegated. With his future clearly not in the lower league, the youngster was loaned out to Esbjerg fB for a season, before then making the move to Brøndby replacing Frankfurt-bound Lukas Hradecky at the start of the 2015-16 season.
Having played for the U-21 side, Rønnow was promoted to the full side by coach Age Hareide as understudy to Kasper Schmeichel and he made his international debut in August 2016 in a friendly against Luxembourg. He appeared in two World Cup qualifiers before then playing against Germany last June in the friendly held in Copenhagen (a 1-1 draw). He has been named in Denmark’s provisional squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Rønnow has long been on the radar of English clubs (looking for the next Peter/ Kasper Schmeichel), so what are the strengths that have brought about his big move to the Bundesliga?
His biggest strength is without doubt his excellent reflexes and he is highly skilled in one-on-one situations. Brøndby are a team that plays an intense pressing game with their defensive line playing quite high up the pitch. Rønnow has often been called upon to get them out of sticky situations and has proved himself one of the best in the Superliga in this regard.
Obviously he pulls off saves, but he seems to do so at vital moments producing reactions that can often be deemed ‘match-winning’. He is very able on the ground with his feet and as with most modern ‘sweeper keepers’ he has a good pass on him.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s last experience of importing a promising goalkeeper from Brøndby proved more than a success with Lukas Hradecky developing into one of the best goalkeepers in the Bundesliga. New Eintracht trainer Adi Hütter will be hoping the Frankfurt scouts have got it right once more.
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