Ioannis Amanatidis: The Greek eagle

Ioannis Amanatidis has lived so long in Germany already that it is no surprise he displays some typically German qualities on the pitch: Ambition, unbreakable will and fighting spirit. This could have something to with the fact that things have never been easy for the striker.

Amanatidis was born in Greece. Even as a small boy, he used every free minute for playing football in his home village of Klitos. There were no clubs there where the art of the round ball could be pursued in an organized fashion. This was the privilege of the top clubs in the big cities.

First club at nine years old

"In the provinces, different ages played together: There were eight year olds playing together with thirteen year olds,? recalls Amanatidis when discussing his childhood on his homepage. This situation changed, however, when he moved with his family to Germany when he was nine years old.

Amanatidis reported to Stuttgart SC and played at a club for the first time. In the summer of 1994, he braved the move to the biggest club in the Swabian metropolis: VfB Stuttgart. There he rose through the youth team into the reserves. From there he made his way to Fürth. Amanatidis was loaned out and entered first team football at SpVgg Greuther Fürth.

Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern

"Both years that I was under contract at Greuther Fürth, we missed promotion into the Bundesliga by just a few points,? the Greek points out. In 2002 he went back to Stuttgart and was celebrating his first goal of the Bundesliga on the ninth match day. Having just come off the bench, he netted the winning goal just before the final whistle in a 2-1 victory over Nürnberg.

VfB and Amantidis finished second in the Bundesliga and played in the Champions League. It was during this time, too, that he found his way into the Greek national team. In January 2004, the Greek was lured to Frankfurt. Even with Amanatidis, however, Eintracht could not avoid relegation and that meant Amanatidis transferred to 1. FC Kaiserslautern for a year.

Back on the Main

Things never really worked out in the Palatinate. "I began the 2004-05 season with a broken fibula which I had injured during a friendly with the Greed Olympic team,? said Amanatidis. After his return to the pitch, he was again plagued by niggling injuries. He then returned to Frankfurt in the summer of 2005.

Eintracht were promoted immediately back into the Bundesliga and maintained their league status in part thanks to the twelve goals scored by the Greek forward, which remain his best run of goals to date. After two more strong years in Frankfurt he was beset by injury worries once again.

A proud eagle

In the 2008-09 season Amanatidis featured in only seven games. But injuries do not stop him, and he gave this self-confident assurance: "You can achieve everything if you do not give up and believe in yourself.?

This approach is what the Eintracht Frankfurt fans love about Amanatidis. A goal scorer with fighting heart. No wonder the Greece international feels so comfortable in Germany. Perhaps his second home will become permanent: "I cannot predict where the centre of my life will be when my career comes to an end.?

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