It is not that Frankfurt as a city with lots of banks (which is by the way right now in the crisis a disadvantage, some business seats for next season are still not sold) has no financial potential. But our several years in second division still hurt allot. We still cannot follow Stuttgart, Dortmund, Bremen or the other teams that haven’t been relegated recently, which means at least in the last 15 to 20 years. But if that stringently means that they will be positioned above us in the league-table, we are supposed to leave at least teams like Cottbus behind who have much less financial possibilities. As Cottbus – with a victory against us – would have gathered as many points as we did so far, it was a very important match for us. Cottbus got a dubious penalty already after 10 minutes and scored by Rangelov who already scored twice against us in autumn. It seems as if we are quite the only team against which he scores at all. And we are the weakest team in the first 15 minutes. There is barely a match without goals against us in the first 15 minutes. On the other hand, we are one of the best teams in the last 15 minutes. Personally, I like it that way much better than the other way around, you can always hope for some more late Eintracht-goals instead of being afraid that the early goals will be useless in the end. Against Cottbus, Liberopoulos (as well by a dubious penalty) and Steinhoefer (35-meter-free-kick, which was meant as a cross but not touched by anybody) turned the match around and made the situation much easier for us.
I must admit that after that I was quite hopeful, we might be able to surprise in Muenchen (Munich). Bayern had just been beaten up twice by Wolfsburg (who has best chances to become German champion for the first time ever, 5:1) and in the middle of the week by Barcelona (4:0). That usually doesn’t happen to Bayern – they only lose that high once in maybe 2 years. So they didn’t seem to have their usual strength. But once again, our start into the match was awful. Ribéry (3.) and Toni (17.) scored early. In the end, it was 4:0 and nothing positive can be said. We had only 10 players left on the field because Koehler was injured after coach Funkel had already made his 3 substitutions. You must imagine that: he never substitutes 3 players, most often only one, sometimes a second in the end. And in cases of great exceptions a third one in minute 92. Some people even criticize him for being so cautious. This one time he substituted 3 players early, a forth one is injured. It so ironic and he probably will not take out 3 players before minute 88 in his whole life again.
Against Moenchengladbach, the team against which we won the UEFA-Cup in 1980 (but that’s something Schobberobber will tell you about elaborately one day), it was a similar situation as against Cottbus. They reached out from behind and tried to tear us down in the league table, so we should win in order to bring some more distance between them and us. It worked out. Meier who is constantly becoming better after his long injuries in 2007 and 2008, scored after a corner by Steinhoefer with an awesome header (picture below). Steinhoefer is an astonishing player for me anyway. He is playing his first Bundesliga-season and is the only one who took part in all the matches. He only played 13 matches of 29 for all the 90 minutes but still, that is a good statistic for a young player. And he has 15 scorer-points in 31 matches, if you count the cup in. That’s excellent. Right after half-time, Liberopoulos scored with a 14-meter-shot. It was the first time after months that he and Fenin were on the field together (before, one of them was always injured). They showed at once that they play together very well and Fenin assisted Liberopoulos with his goal. Liberopoulos for me is a player who is very valuable in home-matches (8 Bundesliga-goals) but not effective in away matches (1 Bundesliga-goal). He likes it if the match takes place near the opponent’s goal but is no player for fast attacks.
We all thought that this should be it but we brought Gladbach back into the match by 2 penalties. Both were imposed after fouls against Marin, the young German national player who grew up in Frankfurt and played in our youth teams. He still considers Frankfurt as a great city and Eintracht as one of his favourite club, by the way. If I counted right, those were already penalties 9 and 10 in match 28 – just horrible! The first one could be saved by Proell who once more (do I still have to mention that?) due to injuries came and went into the goal in constant exchange with Nikolov. Proell made a great match, but with the second penalty Moenchengladbach managed to score. Russ, who fouled Marin before the second penalty, scored 5 minutes later by a header after a corner by Fink – the right answer! Fink himself finally was responsible for the 4:1, a shot from 8 meters with the outside of the foot. He now got 7 scorer-points in 28 matches which is absolutely remarkable for a defensive player. Later on he spoke out loud what we already expected: he will not sign a new contract with Eintracht Frankfurt. His new club is not known yet. There are rumours that he will join Besiktas Istanbul. Anyway: good luck Michael and thanks for 3 good years in Frankfurt! Maybe and hopefully we can at least keep Ochs who is under contract until 2010. He and Mr. Bruchhagen seem to be talking about a new contract right now. We will see.
We lost the last match in April 2:0 in Stuttgart. It was Stuttgart’s 7th victory in the last 8 matches, so it’s no shame to lose there. We already got used to the way Eintracht beats the weaker teams but loses to the big ones – all without even one exception. Cacau and Gomez scored for Stuttgart. Fenin did something for his interesting statistic and hit the post for the 6th time this season, no other player did this more ore even nearly as often. Now we await the match against Dortmund, another team in good shape. They won all their last 5 matches.
Let me close with some good news. Spycher (picture above against Gomez) came back to the team after half a year of injury and played really well. Ochs signed a new contract until 2012 yesterday although several other clubs were interested in taking him under contract!