Eintracht Frankfurt won a two-legged playoff to stave off relegation at the end of the 2015-16 season, and they have been climbing upward ever since. Under the guidance of Croatian tactician Niko Kovac, appointed in March 2016, Frankfurt finished 11th in the Bundesliga two seasons ago and leapt to eighth last year. Additionally — and quite sensationally — they knocked off Bayern Munich to win the DFB-Pokal Cup, prompting the domestic champs to swoop in and name Kovac their new coach when Jupp Heynckes once again retired.
But Kovac’s absence in unlikely to slow down Frankfurt’s growth. The club named Adi Hutter as manager after the Austrian guided BSC Young Boys to their first Swiss Super League title in 32 years. Notably, Hutter and Kovac both spent years with Red Bull Salzburg, Kovac as a player to end his career and Hutter as a manager.
Sebastien Haller leads the line for Frankfurt following his move from Utrecht in the Dutch Eredivisie. The French striker collected 13 goals last year and will continue to be the main option up top for the German club in 2018-19 alongside Ante Rabic, who is currently prepping for a World Cup final against France.
American Tim Chandler is also a Frankfurt regular, taking up fullback and wingback positions depending on the team’s shape. Chandler was instrumental in the club’s cup run last season, transitioning from right to left with ease and allowing the team to fit its best eleven into the starting lineup. Chandler has made 29 appearances for the US Men’s National Team in his career.
Another player to watch is Jonathan de Guzman. The Canadian-born Dutch international is a bit of a journeyman, but he’s a fun player that pushes those around him, and he could be a prime candidate for a stint in MLS in the near future.
Finally, keep an eye out for Liverpool’s Allan Souza, who is trialling with the Eagles on this trip. The young Brazilian oozes potential and just needs to find a home to settle in and develop; Frankfurt could be it.
The DFB-Pokal Cup champs come to Philadelphia on Saturday, July 14. Catch the live stream on the Union’s Facebook page.