Never before has a promoted side started a Bundesliga season as well as Eintracht Frankfurt.
Compared to Fortuna Dusseldorf, it’s less surprising that Eintracht Frankfurt, a rich club from Germany’s financial capital, should be doing so well.
But what the coaches of the two clubs do have in common is redemption, they’re both thriving after being given a second chance.
The reputation of Eintracht’s coach Armin Veh was rock bottom after his last 2 jobs. In 2009, when he replaced Felix Magath at recently crowned Wolfsburg it was football’s version of Mission Impossible. Nobody, not even Magath, had expected “the Wolves” to clinch the title. The only way was down and so it proved. Veh survived until just into the New Year.
The following season Veh went further North to Hamburg where he did slightly better; he didn’t get the sack until March. His confidence severely dented, Veh got off the managerial Merry go round to reflect. Two months later he was in the hot seat at freshly relegated Eintracht Frankfurt. He took the Eagles straight back up in his first season and has been rewarded with a contract extension
We shouldn’t be so surprised. Veh after all is one of only five coaches in the Bundesliga to have won the Meisterschale. He did it at Stuttgart in 2007 when crucially expectations were not high. And this is the big difference compared to his time at Wolfsburg and Hamburg.
And the secret of his success this season.
Simple, ask anybody who followed the 2nd division last year. His two star players, Japan’s Takashi Inui and Stefan Aigner were both poached from 2nd division rivals last season Bochum and 1860 Munchen respectively. As was Canadian Olivier Occean from Greuther Furth
And the return has been instant. Inui has scored 3 goals and and created an assist in all 5 games whereas Stefan Aigner isn’t that far behind with 3 goals and an assist in 5 games. Both scored for the Eagles in their biggest test so far against Champions Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, when they came back from 2 goals down to snatch a 3-3 draw.
The cautious Veh has been trying to play down expectations.
“More difficult times might yet come for us. We’re on 13 points after 5 Matchdays, so all it means is that we are a step closer to our target. The way we play at the end of the day is not important . You can play well but if you still lose; it’s pointless. That’s why it was very important to take a point this evening especially against a team of Dortmund’s calibre. They’re one of the two best teams in the country, so it’s a real morale booster.”
Continuity is also important. Veh fielded the same starting eleven in their first 4 games, but they also have strength in depth. There’s a good blend at the Commerzbank Arena with the youth of the two Sebastians, Rohde and Jung and the experience of Alex Maier and Martin Lanig.
This balance is best expressed by Permin Schwegler.
“The mix of players in this team works well. We have players who have a strong personality, we have players who have got talent and we have players who simply work for the team. We are a team which gives always full gas and never gives up.”
The Eagles are soaring high are their form suggests they’re not an early season flash in the pan.
The next challenge will be the visit of Freiburg this Sunday
Anthony Jeffers, Eurosport 2 Commentator
Follow the Bundesliga action on Eurosport 2 this Friday.
We kick off with Fortuna Dusseldorf v Schalke at 20.30 cet. On Saturday Werder Bremen host top of the table Bayern Munich at 15.30. Borussia Dortmund try to get back to winning ways when they host Borussia Moenchengladbach at 18.30.
On Sunday Eintracht Frankfurt look to maintain their unbeaten run against Freiburg at 15.30. That’s followed by Wolfsburg against Mainz at 17.30
Highlights of all matches at 19:30 on Sunday. Coverage in North and East Europe.