For our next article in the Bundesliga Fantasy team preview series, I move from VfL Wolfsburg to take an in-depth look at their mid-table rivals Eintracht Frankfurt. Last year, “Die Adler” (The Eagles) narrowly lost out to “Die Wölfe” (The Wolves) in the battle for the final UEFA Champions League spot, finishing in 5th place and just one point shy of 4th-placed Wolfsburg. The Eagles, therefore, have to settle for UEFA Europa League football this year, a competition that they won several decades ago – in the 1979/80 season (then known as the UEFA Cup).

Eintracht Frankfurt is an old football club that can trace its history as far back as 1899, and it was one of the founding members of the Bundesliga when the league formed in 1963. In their 50+ top-division seasons since, however, they have not yet managed to claim the title, with their best league achievements being five 3rd place finishes. They have also spent six seasons in the 2. Bundesliga (the last being the 2011/12 campaign), although it has never taken them more than two seasons to return to the top flight. On the other hand, they have had success in the domestic cups with five DFB-Pokal wins, most recently in the 2017/18 season.

Fun Fact: Charly Körbel, the player with the highest number of appearances in Bundesliga history (602), spent his entire senior playing career as a defender for Eintracht Frankfurt (between 1972-1991), during which the team won four DFB-Pokal cups (1974, 1975, 1981, 1988) and the aforementioned UEFA cup (1980). ‘Faithful Charly’ is still involved with the club as a member of its board of directors and lead of its youth development school.


The Eagles and The Wolves

 

Eintracht Frankfurt provides a great contrast with Wolfsburg in terms of balance between attacking and defensive capabilities. Both clubs had similar levels of success in the 2020/21 season while encompassing very different approaches, finishing 5th and 4th respectively and separated by only 1 point.

While Wolfsburg achieved their position through a defence-first approach (ref. my previous article), Frankfurt’s backline was synonymous with conceding goals in almost every game and instead prospered through an attack-first strategy. With a relatively poor defence that kept only four clean sheets in the entire league season (!), The Eagles were frequently reliant on outscoring their opponents, and their season was littered with high scoring games as a result (often for both sides). They owed their 5th place finish primarily to the attacking talents of Filip Kostić, Daichi Kamada and Bundesliga 2020/21’s second-highest goalscorer André Silva (28 goals, edging out Erling Haaland on 27). This proved to be a strong tactic that resulted in them having the second-fewest losses in the league with six, only two behind the dominant Bayern Munich’s four.

This strategy was not without fault, however, as The Eagles finished with a frustrating 12 draws, the second-highest number in the league behind Union Berlin’s 14. Over half of these came in their first 10 games of the campaign, where they tallied 7 draws, 2 wins and 1 loss. This slow start ended up costing them the chance of a higher finish – just one more draw converted to a win and they would’ve had UEFA Champions League football, two more and they could have finished as runners-up in the league! They also fell victim to a shock 3-4 loss in the penultimate matchday to already relegated Schalke. Therefore, despite it being a strong season that included wins against both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the potential for more was clear.

With top goal contributor Silva (28 goals, 7 assists) now having left The Eagles to join RB Leipzig, it is unclear whether their previous attack-based tactics would be able to provide them with the same success. They also had to part ways with Adi Hütter, who at the end of the season announced that he would be taking up the managerial role at Borussia Mönchengladbach left vacant by Marco Rose’s move to Borussia Dortmund – The Bundesliga Manager Carousel, everybody! The fact that they’ve so far managed to hold onto key attacking players Kostić and Kamada for the upcoming season, as well as acquiring new frontman Rafael Borré and promising attackers Jesper Lindstrøm and Jens Petter Hauge (just confirmed), suggests that there will still be plenty of goals in the team. Nonetheless, a change of approach does appear necessary, and, as a result, stealing head coach Oliver Glasner away from rivals Wolfsburg seems like a particularly smart move. As shown from his success with The Wolves, Glasner is a more defence-minded manager, and a strengthened defence could be just what Frankfurt need in order to build upon last year’s campaign and challenge for the top spots in the league. This will no doubt take a while to implement, but it could work out well for The Eagles.

 

Bundesliga table for the 20/21 season (top 10 teams)

 

Frankfurt showed a strong preference for home games last season, managing to pass through the full campaign unbeaten at the Deutsche Bank Park with 10 wins and 7 draws and a goal difference of +17. Away from home, their record was almost exactly split between wins, draws and losses – 6, 5 and 6, respectively – and a greatly reduced goal difference of -1. While they were almost as proficient at scoring at home or away (37 and 32 goals, respectively), they were let down by their leakier away defence, conceding 13 more goals at grounds away from the DBP. This is something they will be looking to improve on in the coming season.





Attack – The Soaring Eagles

 

As mentioned, Frankfurt’s 2020/21 season was characterised by a predominantly attack-first approach. As suggested by their final league position, this is reflected in their top attacking statistics.

The Eagles were 3rd best for goals (69), assists (52) and big chances created (67) last year behind only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, highlighting the strong goal threat that they provide. They also ranked 4th best for xG/xG per game, which shows both their high chance creation potential and their efficiency in front of the goal. This can be strongly linked with the clinical nature of now ex-striker André Silva – note that RB Leipzig had a higher xG than Frankfurt but finished with nine fewer goals, so they will be hoping that their acquisition of Silva will change their fortunes in this sense. Silva was by far the top goal contributor for The Eagles last season, picking up 28 goals and 7 assists from an xG of 24.3 and an xA of 5.5. While he did have penalty kick duties last year and scored 8 from the spot, he still managed to accrue an npxG per 90 mins of 0.62. This is promising for new frontman Rafael Borré (FWD, 7m), and it will be interesting to see what he can do if he receives a similar level of service.

A way behind Silva, the next highest goal contributors in the team were Filip Kostić (MID, 14M) and Daichi Kamada (MID, 11M), who provided 4 goals, 14 assists and 5 goals, 12 assists, respectively. Kostić is a particularly crucial member of the team who has the main responsibility for all set pieces, and his high-quality deliveries and crosses, coupled with his shoot-on-sight mentality, mean that he has both a high floor and a high points ceiling in Bundesliga Fantasy, even against stronger opponents. A fit Kostić is therefore very hard to ignore, and this will only be made harder if he takes over penalty duties now Silva has left. Despite Kostić’s set-piece responsibilities, however, it is interesting to note that Kamada’s xG + xA per 90 mins of 0.50 trailed only just behind Kostić’s 0.55, and he is an established BL player that should definitely not be overlooked.

Silva, Kostić and Kamada were well clear of the pack last year in an attacking sense. Amin Younes also became a key attacking player towards the end of the season, but he is due to be transferred away from the club. Aymen Barkok (MID, 4M; see below) is one to look out for, however, with him racking up two goals and three assists in only nine starts (26 appearances) last season. Younes’ impending departure could well work in his favour and make him a brilliant value asset. New signing Jens Petter Hauge (not yet in-game) is also one to consider once he settles, and it is likely that he and Barkok will be battling for the same place in the team – he managed five goals and one assist for AC Milan last season from only six starts (24 appearances). Ex-Brøndby winger Jesper Lindstrøm is also one to look out for going forward, with him already getting his first competitive start in attacking midfield in Frankfurt’s recent DFB Pokal game.

 

⚽ Goals: 69 (3rd) 

🅰️ Assists: 52 (3rd) 

💡 Big Chances Created: 67 (3rd)

❎ Big Chances Missed: 50 (5th)

🚀 Total Shots: 438 (8th) 

🎯 Shots on Target: 159 (7th) 

📈 xG: 56.1 (4th) 

📊 xG Per Game: 1.65 (4th)

 

The top 6 players in attacking involvement for the team

PlayerPositionMatches Played (Subs)GoalsAssistsSpGKeyP
André SilvaFWD322853.71
Filip KostićMID29 (1)4141.73
Daichi KamadaMID28 (4)5121.21.8
Bas DostFWD9 (3)421.30.9
Amin YounesMID16 (10)331.30.9
Aymen BarkokMID9 (17)230.71
SpG = Shots per Game

KeyP = Key Passes Per Game


Defensive difficulties

 

What Frankfurt offered in attack last season, they lacked in defensive capabilities. They managed only four clean sheets during the whole campaign, which, amazingly, was joint last in the league with weekly “whipping boys” Schalke. The other defensive stats don’t offer much improvement either, with them placing 10th for goals, total shots and shots and target conceded, and 9th for xGA/xGA per game.

As a result, you’d be hard-pressed to find good value in their defensive players, as it stands. There was a period where Erik Durm was a cheap regular in the first team and posted good enough attacking stats at RWB/RM to accumulate points, even picking up a goal and two assists, but he ended up being heavily rotated and is not expected to be the first choice for the coming season. Furthermore, his price has been ramped up to a lofty 8M, so he is no longer a good value. Danny da Costa, however, who was recently signed from Mainz 05, is predicted to start in the same position at the beginning of the season. He had a reasonably good xG + xA per 90 mins of 0.12 for the 05ers and only costs 5M, so he may be worth monitoring. Martin Hinteregger (11M) and Evan N’Dicka (10M) offer good attacking threat in Bundesliga Fantasy but are also seemingly overpriced. On the other hand, if Glasner strengthens up The Eagles’ defence as expected, this latter pair may be worth keeping an eye on – note that in the 2019/20 season, Hinteregger was a goalscoring beast, netting eight times and bagging one assist in the process.

 

🥅 Goals Conceded: 53 (10th) 

🚫 Clean Sheets: 4 (18th) – Tied with Schalke!

🧤 Penalties Conceded: 6 (joint 6th)

🚀 Total Shots Conceded: 425 (10th)

🎯 Shots on Target Conceded:  149 (10th)

📈 Total xGA: 48.4 (9th)

📊 xGA (Expected Goals Against Per Game): 1.42 (9th) 

 

For now, Frankfurt defenders are a definite “wait and see” until they show signs of significant defensive improvements, given the better options at similar price points in Bundesliga Fantasy from other teams.


Eintracht Frankfurt’s Pre-season Results

 

vs SV Wehen Wiesbaden 1-3 (L)

Goal(s): Barkok (penalty)

Assist(s)

 

vs SV Sandhausen 1-0 (W)

Goal(s): Kostic

Assist(s): Kamada

 

vs FC Giessen 6-1 (W)

Goal(s): Akman, Barkok, Kamada, Kostic, Lindström, Paciencia

Assist(s): Blanco, Chandler, Lindström, Paciencia

 

vs RC Strasbourg 2-3 (L)

Goal(s): Hrustic (2)

Assist(s): Kostic (2)

 

vs AS Saint-Étienne 2-1 (W)

Goal(s): Borré (penalty), Lenz

Assist(s): –

 

vs SV Waldhof 2-0 (L) [DFB Pokal]

Goal(s): 

Assist(s): –

 

Players with multiple attacking returns for Eintracht Frankfurt in pre-season

PlayerGoalsAssists
Filip Kostić22
Aymen Barkok2-
Ajdin Hrustic2-
Daichi Kamada11
Jesper Lindstrøm11
Gonçalo Paciência11

Note: This list is accurate as of 10th August. You can find the updated list and match reports on DNL Fantasy’s website.





Eintracht Frankfurt – Players to Watch Out for in Bundesliga Fantasy

 

  • Filip Kostić (MID, 14M)

With his shot spamming and top chance creation statistics, Kostić is typically an absolute points machine in Bundesliga Fantasy. He was second top of the regular starters for both xG + xA per 90 mins (at 0.55) and actual goal involvements (4 goals, 14 assists) behind André Silva, and he is the clear talisman for Frankfurt now that the latter has left the club. Kostić dominates the set-piece responsibilities for The Eagles as the main free-kick and corner taker, and he could now be the first choice penalty taker following Silva’s departure. These factors all add up to make Kostić one of the best assets in the game, posting frequent high points hauls even when his side don’t claim the win. Note that there are rumours that he will leave, but he’s due to start the season for Frankfurt as it stands. He’s well worth his price tag and when he is fit, avoiding him in Bundesliga Fantasy is a bold move!

 

  • Daichi Kamada (MID, 11M) | Amin Younes (MID, 11M)/Jens Petter Hauge (?)

As an attack-first team with a pretty poor defence, the players that lead the way in points for Frankfurt are those with high expected/actual goal involvements. As a result, the points should flow for the two attacking midfielders that line up in the 3-4-3 behind Rafael Borré. Daichi Kamada was the third-best attacking contributor for The Eagles last season, finishing just behind Kostić with 5 goals and 12 assists in 32 appearances (28 starts). Kamada was also third top for xG + xA per 90 mins with 0.50 (of the regular starters), again just behind Kostić’s 0.55.

Amin Younes became a regular starter in the other attacking-midfield spot but only in the latter stages of the season, and so trailed significantly behind Kamada in terms of goal contributions because of this: 3 goals and 3 assists in 26 games (only 16 starts). His xG + xA per 90 mins was also lower, at 0.33. However, Younes very slightly edged Kamada in xG per 90 mins (0.22 compared to 0.21) and he was actually second amongst the regulars for shots per 90 mins with 2.14; more than Kamada (1.45) and even Kostić (1.81). This suggests that Younes offered the better goal threat of the pair, and Kamada took on a slightly more creative role to provide better all-round goal involvement potential. Younes is strongly rumoured to be leaving the club following salary complaints and is to be replaced by promising Norwegian winger Jens Petter Hauge (now confirmed). If Hauge is priced similarly and fills Younes’ place in the formation he could also be a great option. One of Aymen Barkok or Jesper Lindstrøm (see below) also have a strong chance of filling that position, and may well do so until Hauge has settled.

As a result of the overall stats, I actually think Kamada is slightly underpriced. However, if Younes’ replacement takes up a similar role and offers comparatively more goal threat, they could also emerge as a strong pick. In the meantime, however, I think Kamada offers particularly good value given his established potential and the uncertainty surrounding the other position.

 

  • Rafael Borré (FWD, 7M)

New leading frontman Rafael Borré is a relatively unknown quantity in the Bundesliga. The Colombian international started his professional career at home-country club Deportivo Cali, netting 14 goals in 26 apps in his two years there. He was then swept up by Atlético Madrid and subsequently loaned back to Cali and then to Villarreal in the following two years, before being sold to River Plate in 2017. In his four years at the latter, he became the top goal scorer in current manager Marcelo Gallardo’s successful spell at the club (ending with 56 goals, 20 assists), playing a key role in several domestic cup successes and even a Copa Libertadores win. When his contract at River Plate ended earlier this year, Borré’s desire to return to Europe synced up well with André Silva’s departure from The Eagles to RB Leipzig, and Eintracht Frankfurt picked him up on a free transfer.

It will be difficult to fill the hole left by Silva, but he is clearly capable of finding the net (74 career goals in 213 games to date). He could be a bargain as the main striker if he receives the same volume of chances that Silva did (he had an npxG of 0.62 per 90 minutes last season) with Kostić and Kamada providing him.

 

  • Watchlist: Aymen Barkok (MID, 4M) | Jesper Lindstrøm (MID, 7M)

Young attacking midfielder Barkok has impressed whenever he was given a chance in the first eleven last season, picking up 2 goals and 3 assists in 26 appearances (only 9 starts). Despite his “bit” player role, he was also 5th highest for Frankfurt last season for xG + xA per 90 mins, with 0.42. Keep an eye on Barkok as he battles for a first-team place because when he does get a chance in the team he can be a brilliant-value differential in Bundesliga Fantasy. He should be in strong contention for a starting place at the beginning of the season in particular, after showing good pre-season form (netting two goals) and with the Younes/Hauge situation ongoing. He could be hard for Glasner to drop if he picks up form. New signing Jesper Lindstrøm, who started in the attacking midfield role in Frankfurt’s recent DFB Pokal game, is the other hot young talent that could break into the first team in this position, and he would also represent brilliant value at just 7m.

 


To Summarise

 

Eintracht Frankfurt are an exciting attacking team that last season tended to rely on outscoring their opponents to win games. The absence of free-scoring forward and previous talisman André Silva could mean that they have to change their approach in the coming campaign, although there is still plenty of goal threat within the team.

A 3-4-3 is the most likely formation for the start of the season, with Filip Kostić and Daichi Kamada providing the main sources of creativity from the left- and right-hand sides, respectively. The pair is expected to be the key goal contributors this season and are the standout picks in the team, as it stands. In particular, if main set-piece taker Kostić can continue to be the points machine he has been in previous seasons, he is one of the few players close to being “essential” in Bundesliga Fantasy – there’s a chance he’ll also be on penalties this year with Silva’s departure, which would only heighten his appeal. However, if newcomer Rafael Borré can convert the many chances that are likely to come his way, he could be of exceptional value at just 7m. Keep your (Eagle) eyes on Aymen Barkok and Jesper Lindstrøm as well, who could get chances to prove themselves in attacking midfield alongside Kamada in the first few MDs while Amin Younes’ transfer is finalised and Jens Petter Hauge settles. Barkok had a high xG + xA per 90 mins last season and could be a 4M midfield gem. At 7m, Lindstrøm could also provide great value if he can offer similar threat.

Frankfurt were very poor defensively last year and managed to keep only four clean sheets (joint-bottom with Schalke!) so it is probably best to avoid their defensive players for the time being – poor Kevin Trapp only lives up to his name in a Bundesliga Fantasy sense! They provided a great contrast with Wolfsburg in this sense, and The Eagles’ acquisition of Oliver Glasner from The Wolves should strengthen them greatly defensively, but these improvements will likely take a while to instil.

Their beginning three fixtures (i.e. up until our first round of unlimited transfers) read: Borussia Dortmund (A); FC Augsburg (H); DSC Arminia Bielefeld (A). The latter two games present great opportunities for attacking points against last year’s 13th and 15th placed finishers, and the FC Augsburg matchup particularly stands out given their poor defence and Frankfurt’s previously strong home form. An attacking double-up could hence be particularly profitable in Bundesliga Fantasy for MDs 2 and 3. Furthermore, while Dortmund (A) will no doubt be a tough opening fixture, Die Schwarzgelben are likely to be missing several key figures in defence (inc. Guerreiro, and possibly Hummels), and so there is also great potential for attacking points there as well.

Should The Eagles continue to soar in attack this season while working to solidify their defence, they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with!

 

Eintracht Frankfurt’s first five fixtures to start the Bundesliga Fantasy season

Eintracht Frankfurt Expected Lineup for Matchday 1

 


You can find Bundesliga Fantasy resources for the 21/22 season here.

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