Hinrunde Reviews: Eintracht Frankfurt

The 2017/18 Bundesliga season has reached the halfway stage, giving us here at the Bundesliga Fanatic the opportunity to take stock of each club’s progress so far. Here, we look at how Eintracht Frankfurt fared in the Hinrunde.

The story so far

If only Eintracht Frankfurt could play all of their games away from the Commerzbank Arena. If that were the case they would be challenging Bayern Munich for the title with the Bavarians the only club with a better away record than die Adler. Sadly, at home they have the third worst record in the league.

The Hinrunde for Frankfurt therefore can be split into two quite easily – home and away. The season began with a goalless draw away at Freiburg but without the use of VAR it would have been a loss. They then lost their first home of the season to a Wolfsburg. Away victories over Borussia Mönchengladbach and Köln book-ended a home defeat to Augsburg. Do you see a pattern developing?

Niko Kovac saw his side lose 2-1 away at RB Leipzig on matchday 6, but that was to prove their only defeat on the road in the whole of the Hinrunde. The following week saw Eintracht finally notch up their first three pointer at home when they overcame VfB Stuttgart 2-1 thanks to a spectacular 93rd minute winner from striker Sebastien Haller.

After beating Hannover (yep! away) they then drew with both Borussia Dortmund and Mainz before securing their second three points at the Commerzbank Arena when another late winner from Haller in the 89th minute downed Werder Bremen.

The countdown to the Winterpause saw away wins at Hertha Berlin and Hamburg, but home defeats to Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. There was an added boost going into the Christmas break when they progressed to the quarter-final of the DFB Pokal for the second season in a row with an extra-time win over 1.FC Heidenheim.

Just what has caused Eintracht Frankfurt to perform in such a Jekyll and Hyde manner home and away is a mystery with 18 of their 26 points won, achieved away from home. Only one defeat on the road, but only two wins at their own stadium backed by their passionate fans. Go figure!

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Stat central        

P17 W7 D5 L5 F20 A18 Pt26 (8th)

  • Frankfurt average only 9.7 shots on target per 90 minutes- the second lowest in the league behind Hertha Berlin.
  • On average they commit the most fouls in their own half with 17.4 per 90 minutes.
  • Aside from RB Leipzig, Frankfurt get caught offside more than any other side- an average of 2.6 per match.

Top Performer: Sebastien Haller

Signed from Dutch side Utrecht for €7 million, French striker Sebastien Haller is proving to be a very astute piece of business from Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic. His goals have secured vital points for Frankfurt and his late winning goal in the DFB Pokal brought the club €1.3 million alone.

There are plenty of stats which show he gives the ball away a lot in the opposition half and he puts himself about a nit, but at the end of the day he knows where the goal is and he’s found it at important times this season.

He’s scored six league goals (with four more coming in the Cup) and provided a further four assists. His dramatic late bicycle kick against Stuttgart will surely be a contender for Goal of the Season. All in all, the 23-year-old has made a flying start with the Eagles.

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The summer signings

As mentioned striker Sebastien Haller has been a real hit at Frankfurt in the Hinrunde, but the other summer acquisitions have also made their presence felt in a positive way.

Kevin-Prince Boateng may have been a bit of a surprise signing, but following his move from La Liga he’s settles well back in the Bundesliga. He appeared in every one of Frankfurt’s matches scoring three goals in the process including an 80th minute winner against his former club Hertha.

Left-sided Jetro Willems has shown his quality since arriving from PSV Eindhoven and is ranked fourth in the Bundesliga for passes played into the penalty area. Defender Simon Falette has fitted effortlessly into the back line with the only blot on his copybook being the red card he received in the win over Stuttgart.

The well-travelled Jonathan de Guzman has made eight appearances, while the equally well-travelled Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes has made nine appearances (with four bookings amongst them).

Serbian striker Luka Jovic arrived from Benfica and started the final two games of the Hinrunde and appearing in six others as a sub. He scored against both Augsburg and Schalke. Mexican Carlos Salcedo has appeared 12 times since his move from Fiorentina, while Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada has two starts.

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Hinrunde highlight

Much has been made of the poor home form this season, so the matchday 7 first home win over VfB Stuttgart gets the nod as the club’s Hinrunde highlight.

Speed demon Ante Rebic handed the hosts the lead three minutes before half-time only for Simon Terodde to head home an equaliser on the hour mark. When defender Simon Falette was sent off soon after, it looked like another point at home would have to be settled for.

Just when that seemed to be the case, up popped Sebastien Haller in stoppage time with an overhead bicycle kick to stun Stuttgart and bag all three points in the most dramatic of ways.

Hinrunde lowlight

Rather than being a single game or moment, the lowlight for Frankfurt has to be the poor return they have given their fans at the Commerzbank Arena in their nine matches to date.

For sure they have faced many of the big boys at home in the Hinrunde (Bayern, Dortmund, Schalke and Leverkusen) but only Werder Bremen and Köln fans have seen their side win fewer points at home than Eintracht.

The atmosphere and backing received by die Adler faithful has been immense as ever, but sadly for some reason the team have been unable to provide them with much cheer at home so far this season.

The forecast

If Frankfurt can sort out some sort of form at home, while maintaining their impressive showings away from the Commerzbank Arena, then they can be seen as serious contenders for a Europa League place.

Niko Kovac has them playing some nice football and the squad has the talent and depth to achieve just that. It is only two letters, but ‘if’ is a very big word. It will be interesting to see how they fare when the Rückrunde begins and they face Freiburg at home in the first fixture.

On a side note, goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky has been in immense form in the Hinrunde and it will be a very smart piece of business if Frankfurt could persuade him to sign another contract as his current deal expires in the summer.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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