From the Dragons to the Eagles- Frankfurt Signing Gonçalo Paciência

Following the ecstasy of their DFB Pokal triumph in May, this summer has seen the agony of a number of high-profile departures from Eintracht Frankfurt with trainer Niko Kovac, Omar Mascarell, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Lukas Hradecky and Marius Wolf all moving on to pastures new.

A few new players have arrived such as keeper Frederik Rönnow,  Nicolai Müller and Lucas Torro, but the signing of Portuguese striker Gonçalo Paciência is a new addition to Die Adler’s attack that will hopefully give the Commerzbank Arena faithful something to smile about.

Rated highly in his homeland, the 23-year-old will now be looking to fulfil his promised potential in the Bundesliga with the Adler having signed a four-year deal with Eintracht.

The son of former FC Porto striker Domingos Paciência (who won seven titles with los Dragões between 1987 and 1997) joined the Portuguese giants as an 8-year-old and quickly showed that he was a chip off the old block by moving easily through the club’s famed youth ranks. It was the recently appointed Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui, who gave him his big break after he scored nine goals in fifteen appearances for the Porto B team in the 2014-15 season.

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Unfortunately his stellar rise stalled somewhat after a knee injury and series of loan spells with Academica, Olympiacos, Rio Ave and Vitoria Setubal followed. Now with a permanent home, Paciência will be looking to spearhead the Frankfurt attack alongside Sebastien Haller under new coach Adi Hutter.

“We’re getting a proper centre-forward who gives our squad a different dimension,” said board member Fredi Bobic. “Gonçalo is an agile player who can also hold the ball up.”

There will naturally be comparisons with his father, but the junior version is physically stronger, has the ability to hold up the ball, and plays with more awareness of those around him- even if he does copy his father in the way he celebrates his goals.

Last season he returned from his loan spell at Setubal in January and made twelve appearances for FC Porto as they won the title for the first time in five years. Internationally, the striker made his debut for Portugal in November 2017 in a friendly with the USA having previously helped the U-21 side to the runners-up spot at the 2015 European Championships as well as appearing at the 2016 Olympics.  In 70 senior squad matches in Portugal’s top division during his career, the 6-footer has scored nine goals, with seven assists while earning a dozen yellow cards.  Paciência has scored another 21 goals in 48 contests in other domestic competitions in Portugal and has a bit of Champions League experience, having appeared twice in that tournament.

With Raphaël Guerreiro at Borussia Dortmund, Bruma at RB Leipzig and Renato Sanches back at Bayern Munich, he will quickly be facing some of his compatriots in the Bundesliga.

Eintracht Frankfurt are currently training in the United States and on Wednesday played to a 1-1 draw with MLS side Real Salt Lake in a friendly, with another match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday July 14.  The club will host Bayern Munich in the DFL SuperCup on August 12 and then kick off the defense of last season’s DFB Pokal championship on August 18 away to SSV Ulm.  Die Adler open the Bundesliga season on August 25 away to SC Freiburg.

 

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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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