In 2017, Eintracht Frankfurt went 0-2 on a US tour that took them to San Jose and Columubus. That trip preceded a stunning domestic season that saw them finish eighth. And although the table doesn't lie, in this case it may mislead: Frankfurt were only six points off of third. And in their third (second full) season under head coach Niko Kovac, Frankfurt ran through giants Bayern Munich to with the DFB Pokal Cup and secure entry into the 2018-19 Europa League.
With success comes consequences, and Munich quickly pounced on Kovac to replace retiring head coach Jupp Heynckes. Key man Marius Wolf left for Dortmund as well, and Omar Mascarell was bought back by Real Madrid and immediately sold to Schalke. Still, most of the squad, including key striker Sebastien Haller and Croatian attacker Ante Rebic remain, and Frankfurt have brought in a coach that can take advantage of the roster they have already assembled.
Adi Hutter spent the last few seasons rebuilding BSC Young Boys of the Swiss Super League, guiding them to a first title since 1986 in 2017-18. He joins Frankfurt with a European campaign looming, and the complicated task of figuring out exactly how Kovac got this band to play so well the last two seasons. Frankfurt are good, but the ruthlessness of the big German clubs means they must continue to be tactically astute and buy well because any standout players will quickly be snapped up by the big money clubs that have long made it a strategic priority to weaken opposition with their purchases.
With Rebic still at the World Cup and preparing for a final against France, Hutter must use this US tour to find a balance in his team without the dynamic Croatian. As Cup winners, Frankfurt play the domestic champions in the DFP Supercup to kick off the German 2018-19 season on August 12. The champions, of course, are Bayern Munich. And their coach is Kovac. So Frankfurt will have plenty of incentive to be ready to roll when their season begins.
Let’s meet the squad
Timothy Chandler - 28, American, played as a left wingback last season, but often played on the right for Jurgen Klinsmann on the US Men's National Team.
Jonathan de Guzman - 30, midfielder Canadian, but plays/played for the Dutch national team (13 times) instead of Canada. Has played for Napoli among many others.
Allan - At only 21, Allan has been touring Europe for three years now since signing with Liverpool but failing to receive a British work permit. He can pass, but he's still raw. Frankfurt may see a good depth piece with the potential to be more in this triallist.
Simon Falette - 26, left-footed French Guyanian defender. Started career at Lorient, same club as Sebastien Le Toux.
Sebastién Haller - Top goalscorer last year. Came over from Utrecht after scoring 41 goals in 3 seasons in the Eredivisie.
Mijat Gacinovic - 23-year-old Serbian midfielder. Gacinovic played for Veljko Paunovic when the current Chicago Fire coach and former Philadelphia Union player guided Serbia to the U-20 World Cup title.
Jetro Willems - Willems is a 24-year old Dutch fullback who has the distinct honor of playing next to Virgil van Dijk on the Netherlands' national team. Although he has been on the cusp of a big move from a young age, it's not unclear whether Willems will make the final step from Bundesliga regular to genuine game-changing star.
Lucas Torró - The Spanish midfielder recently moved from La Liga club Osasuna to Frankfurt and also had a short spell at Real Madrid along the way. He's only 23 and Frankfurt is hoping he can force his way into regular minutes this season.
Max Besuschkow - The 21-year old German midfielder is returning from a half-season loan with 2. Bundesliga side Holstein Keil. Here's a video of him juggling. He's represented Germany at the youth level but is still trying to hit the next step of his development in a country crowded with midfield talent at the national level.
David Abraham - Spells in his home country of Argentina, Switzerland, and Spain preceded a move to Hoffenheim and then, in 2015, to Frankfurt for Abraham. Now 31, he's a big defender who could very well hit 100 appearances for the club by the end of this upcoming season.
Marc Stendera - The 22-year old attacking midfielder only started five matches last season, so performing well against the Union will be key as he tries to catch the eye of the new Frankfurt manager.
Marco Russ - After starting 12 matches and subbing on in seven more, Russ is hoping to retain a prominent role in the Frankfurt setup under a new coach. At 32, he brings a wealth of experience.
Danny Da Costa - A defender entering his prime yeares, Da Costa is valuable due to his experience in high pressing, high workrate systems at Ingolstadt, Leverkusen, and Frankfurt.
Deji Beyreuther - a young left back looking to grow, Beyreuther is going to be hungry to prove himself on Frankfurt's preseason tour.
Nicolai Müller - The 30-year old German has scored at every stop he's made in a long career. His crowning achievement was scoring the goal that kept Hamburger SV from their first ever relegation. He's looking to return to form this year after rupturing an ACL in August 2017 and playing only two league matches for Hamburger last season.
Felix Wiedwald - An adventurous career took former Werder Bremen goalie Wiedwald to England and back. A short spell at Leeds did not end well, and he returns for a second go-around with Frankfurt this season.
Branimir Hrgota - Hrgota was eligible to play nationally for Bosnia, Croatia, and Sweden, and in 2014 he chose the latter, making three appearances since. The 25-year old moved to Frankfurt from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and has scored five goals in 28 appearances, though he didn't hit the net in the league last season. Here's a collection of his goals for Gladbach.
Taleb Tawatha - After coming up through the Maccabi Haifa system, Tawatha moved to Frankfurt in 2016. He usually plays on the left of the back line.
Noel Knothe - A big 19-year old defender, Knothe has yet to break into the Frankfurt setup and is trying to use this preseason to catch Adi Hutter's eye.
Jan Zimmermann - After coming up with Frankfurt, Zimmerman spent the bulk of his career Darmstadt. He's been a journeyman since 2014 and is likely to be the backup for the upcoming season.
Daichi Kamada - Kamada arrived last summer from the Japanese league where he scored 13 goals in 64 games for Sagan Tosu over the course of three seasons. He found minutes hard to come by last year, so this preseason is a chance to take a big step forward.
Tobias Stirl - A teenaged goalkeeping prospect, Stirl is on board to get some experience during this trip through the states.
Marjian Cavar - A 20-year old Bosnian midfielder, Cavar got his first two call-ups to the national team in January.
Danny Blum - 27 year old german attacker.
Eintracht Frankfurt comes to Talen Energy Stadium tomorrow at 7 PM EST to face Philadelphia Union in an international friendly.