When Eintracht Frankfurt play at regional league club Astoria Walldorf this Wednesday (6:00 p.m.), the test match is referred to as a dress rehearsal. Five days later, the Europa League winners have their first competitive game of the new season: away against second division promoted Magdeburg in the first main round of the DFB Cup. Eintracht head coach Oliver Glasner is likely to send the starting eleven onto the field in Walldorf, which should prevail in the role of favorites in Saxony-Anhalt from 8.45 p.m. on Monday of the coming week.
The Eintracht supporters could have had an idea of Glasner’s personnel planning for the start of the season last Saturday. But the private game against Ajax Amsterdam, which the Hessians classified as an “endurance test”, had to be canceled due to Corona cases in the Netherlands. The people of Frankfurt didn’t want to risk a corona outbreak.
So not only was the flight to Salzburg – the game was to be played in Grödig – in vain. In terms of sport, the showdown with the Champions League participants – Ajax, like Eintracht, is one of the winners – would also have been an important indicator for Glasner’s team. But nobody in the Frankfurt camp wanted to complain about the short-term cancellation of the game.
The Hessians, who instead played an internal training game “yellow” against “grey” in Grödig, feel prepared for an emergency. “We have made a significant step forward,” says captain Sebastian Rode, looking at the substance of the new squad. The additions such as Mario Götze (from Eindhoven), Lucas Alario (Leverkusen) and Randal Kolo Muani (Nantes) have raised the level significantly, “we have increased the quality across the board and at the top”.
“Mario plays passes, nobody sees them”
Like his colleagues, Rode is impressed that “now we’ve got a few things that we missed last season”. For example, a difference player in the person of Mario Götze, who can provide special moments on the pitch with his game intelligence. “Mario plays passes that nobody sees,” said goalkeeper Kevin Trapp at the training camp in Windischgarsten. Charly Körbel, the Eintracht icon, reported on a conversation with Marcel Daum, who works in Leverkusen as “Co-Trainer Analysis”. The latter told him that Alario was the biggest crook in the Bundesliga since Manfred Burgsmüller, according to Körbel.
The Frankfurt team could look forward to the Argentinian’s executor qualities. “The players we brought in will definitely help us,” said Trapp, who considers it “a huge advantage” that “we’ve got so many players so early on”. Unlike in the previous season, Eintracht is well-rehearsed in the new round. Trapp, defense chief Tuta and his fellow defenders Almamy Touré and Evan Ndicka currently have a regular place.
Frenchman Ndicka, who is being courted by AC Milan, is set to return to team training this Tuesday after suffering a calf problem. Djibril Sow and Rode are seeded in the sixth position, provided that he is in full possession of his strength. Even winger Filip Kostic does not have to worry about his place despite the rumors about the transfer of the Serb – West Ham United are interested in signing him.
Alario in the center of the storm can particularly benefit from Kostic’s flanks. Playmaker Götze will also be part of the starting lineup in Magdeburg. Up front, Colombia international Rafael Borré has faced stiff competition from Alario and Kolo Muani. There will be indications in Walldorf as to how Glasner will distribute the tasks to the positions that are still contested.
There, the new face of the team will show itself to a large extent. “There are players who fit better with Magdeburg, others better with Bayern or Real,” says Glasner. But the claim is the same. In the first round of the cup, the Frankfurters want to present themselves in top form and avoid an early loss of the cup like last year against Waldhof Mannheim.