Eas always, intracht sports director Markus Krösche had his emotions well under control: “Then we’ll win the cup next year,” said the 42-year-old Hanoverian a good hour after the final whistle of the 80th final of the DFB club cup, which was played for the Frankfurter had ended with a 0:2. He didn’t show much of the disappointment he described, but rather the desire to continue to shape the future of Eintracht.
Krösche has made good progress over the past few days. The upheaval, which appeared to be huge, is now becoming a little more manageable. With Eric Junior Ebimbe and Philipp Max, two loan players who belonged to the inner circle of coach Oliver Glasner’s preferred starting eleven in the past season have been signed. In addition, the sports director prematurely extended the contract with Mario Götze, which runs until 2025, by another year.
An action that could spontaneously lead to a frown – why does a professional who celebrates his 31st birthday on the day of the final and is already tied up until the age of 33 receive a contract until the age of 34? In order to maintain at least a certain continuity in the squad. Because, according to information from the FAZ, the exit clause (for a comparatively low transfer fee) was canceled and the fee increased to a reasonable sum.
Because Götze proved to be the mainstay of Eintracht over the course of the season. Not only in the spectacular first half of the season, in which he achieved sensational things, but also in the botched second half of the season, when he played more inconspicuously, but was still the last great force in a Frankfurt team that had gotten into disorder. National coach Hansi Flick also knows what he has in the 66-time international.
He didn’t nominate him on Friday for the international matches in Bremen against Ukraine (June 12) and in Warsaw against Poland (June 16), but assured him of his appreciation: “I spoke to Mario for a long time, even several times,” said Flick on Saturday evening on ZDF when asked whether the 31-year-old had to worry. Flick justified the waiver with the burden on the Frankfurter. “He played a lot of games last season. I think he’s happy now if he has a few more days of vacation.”
According to reports, there is now a broad agreement with Evan Ndicka to extend his contract. After Kamada’s farewell game in Berlin, only Kolo Muani, Lindström and Sow remained from the starting XI candidates, who are being courted on the transfer market. Even a change in the French top scorer is not a foregone conclusion. Eintracht is considering signing a new contract with him, significantly increasing his salary and fixing a comparatively moderate transfer fee, thereby persuading him to stay in Frankfurt for another year.
“Please take good care of my Eintracht”
There is no turning back for coach Oliver Glasner, who showed significantly more feelings than Krösche after the final whistle of the cup final. In the past few weeks, the Austrian had only evasively answered questions about his approaching farewell, late on Saturday evening he gave an insight into his inner life. “I will always carry this group of players and coaches in my heart. It was a great journey and a great path that we walked together,” he enthused. “We cleared an incredible number of stones and experienced so many beautiful moments. That’s what sticks. I am very proud to have been there.”
Glasner confessed to having become a Eintracht fan during his time in Frankfurt. He told an anecdote that when he took up his post almost two years ago, an elderly lady asked him to take good care of Eintracht. “I think I was very careful. Now I’m changing sides, I’m a fan of Eintracht Frankfurt and I say to everyone else in charge: Please take good care of my Eintracht. I’ll keep my fingers crossed when Eintracht plays.”
The 48-year-old consoled himself and Eintracht for the 2-0 defeat against Leipzig: “Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. Every defeat is another chance for the future. Maybe it took that loss today to win the Conference League next year,” he said. Eintracht reached the Conference League by finishing seventh in the Bundesliga, and the first round of the play-offs starts in August. “I’m very proud that we still managed to reach the international competition,” stressed Glasner. That was achieved with seven points from the last three Bundesliga games after the team had previously remained without a win ten times.
The change for the better came with the announcement of the decision that Glasner would have to leave Eintracht in the summer, a year before his term expired. Glasner did not want to say anything about these difficult days for him. In any case, it worked – and the team worked until the end. The performance in the Berlin final against the favorite RB Leipzig was worth all honor up to the 0:1.
The successor to the Austrian has already been largely settled. The future sports director Timmo Hardung (33) officially left the question open on Friday, but praised the hottest candidate Dino Toppmöller (42) meaningfully. “Dino is a great guy,” said Hardung in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”, in his eyes the former assistant to Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann (35) is even a “world-class coach”. It has been decided that Toppmöller will take over the coaching position.
Late on Saturday evening, Krösche denied that the cup defeat would have a negative impact on the squad planning for the next season, because now it’s not the Europa League but the less lucrative Conference League: “Today the dream of winning the cup has just burst and nothing else.”