2017/18 Finish: 8th
2018/19 Prediction: 11th
Notable Transfers Out: CDM Omar Mascarell (Schalke), CM Kevin-Prince Boateng (Sassuolo), RM Marius Wolf (Dortmund), GK Lukas Hradecky (Bayer Leverkusen)
Notable Transfers In: LW Ante Rebic (Fiorentina – loan made permanent), CB Carlos Salcedo (Chivas – loan made permanent), RM Nicolai Müller (Hamburg), CDM Lucas Torro (Real Madrid), CF Goncalo Paciencia (FC Porto), CB Evan N’Dicka (AJ Auxerre)
Eintracht are coming off a rollercoaster of a campaign where they flirted with a Champions League spot for most of the season but ultimately fell six points short, finishing in a disappointing 8th-spot. However, for the first time in 30 years, Eintracht won the DFB-Pokal, meaning they’ll be playing in Europe this season, competing in the Europa League.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to keep some of their top players such as central midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, both of whom were absolutely vital in their respectable Bundesliga season and Pokal-title run. They also lost right midfielder Marius Wolf and defensive midfielder Omar Mascarell to Borussia Dortmund and Schalke. Wolf was their leading assist-man with eight, and Mascarell is a huge talent, but missed most of the season due to various injuries.
The club from the financial capital of Germany did manage to sign centre-back Carlos Salcedo to a permanent deal after his phenomenal season on loan from Mexican-side Chivas. They also added centre-back young French defender Evan N’Dicka and Spanish defensive midfielder Lucas Torro to help shore up the back line, but those two are fairly inexperienced players when it comes to top-flight football.
Perhaps most notably, Eintracht retained left-winger Ante Rebic who starred at the World Cup for Croatia. He figures to be a huge part of this attack again and will be their most relied upon player to produce goals, assists and chances. Rebic, who was rumored to be wanted by clubs such as Manchester United, extended his contract through 2022 with the club just this past weekend.
Former manager Niko Kovac departed the club for Bayern Munich after his side’s DFB-Pokal title, already defeating his former club in the German Super Cup on Sunday in a 5-0 thrashing, leaving many questions for new manager Adolf Hütter. The Austrian-born Hütter has never played or managed in any league other than Austria’s Bundesliga or the Swiss Super League, so this undoubtedly will be the biggest challenge of his career.
Eintracht are perhaps one of the deepest sides in the Bundesliga, going two or three-deep at most positions which is necessary due to their participation in the Europa League this season. But, the loss of Boateng and Hradecky will really test the club as those two were vocal leaders on the pitch last season – Boateng also scored six times.
The Eagles finished on a very sour note last season going winless in their last four matches which ultimately cost them finishing in the top four. They were, as always, very physical and that showed in racking up 72 yellow cards – the most in the Bundesliga. Their season goal difference of zero summed up their season nicely, as they were a very average side in pretty much all aspects of the game.
Strengths: depth all-around, few weak positions, solid defensively
Weaknesses: injury-prone past, discipline, inconsistent full-back play
‘Average’ does describe Eintracht in comparison to other Bundesliga sides. They’re clearly a talent-level above the newly promoted teams and the league’s bottom-feeders over the past few years, but they likely won’t have the individual talent to consistently compete with the likes of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen this season.
Since their promotion in 2012, Frankfurt have finished between 6th and 16th every year, and it would be a shock to see them finish outside of that range this year. Forward Sebastian Haller had a solid debut year with the club with eight goals and will look to make it double digit goals this year, but the story was more about young forward Luka Jovic, who bagged eight goals in 22 total showings. Jovic will have one more year at the club, as he’s on a two-year loan spell from Portuguese-power Benfica.
Eintracht surely must be healthier in 2018-19 than last year to improve much as key players such as midfielder Marco Fabian, right back Timothy Chandler, captain David Abraham and defensive midfielder Omar Mascarell missed significant time last year.
As previously stated, this team has a good amount of depth and they can remain a decent side no matter who goes down, but there’s not enough stardom in Hütter’s side to contend for a European spot. However, look for The Eagles to make a strong push in the Europa League as its just the third time in 21 years they’ll be playing competitive European football.