uAt 11:08 a.m., applause breaks out. It is the moment when Eintracht starts to work. 1000 spectators, who received one of the coveted tickets by drawing lots, happily clap their hands. Dino Toppmöller, who initially watches his new team from a distance, enjoys the benevolent atmosphere in the Kleine Kampfbahn not far from the Frankfurt Arena.
It’s finally started again. Coach Toppmöller addressed his new team in a ten-minute speech at half past ten. “Sports director Markus Krösche introduced us,” says Toppmöller later after the one and a half hour training session. Toppmöller’s crew of helpers has increased again for the official start of training on the field. Another confidant from Bayern came to Eintracht from Munich in Stefan Buck. With the 42-year-old co-trainer, Toppmöller “used to be on the pitch himself. I know how he ticks and he knows how I tick. He brings a lot of experience from the youth academy and should improve the permeability at Eintracht,” says Toppmöller about Buck. “He exudes a certain authority and is an incredibly good guy.”
Toppmöller exudes calm. Due to his height, the football coach has everything in view. He lets his assistants design the respective exercise sections, and when it is necessary, the new boss intervenes. Toppmöller motivated and corrected. Mostly he speaks German, sometimes also English. “You have to get behind the ball. You need options,” says Toppmöller calmly but firmly. “Playing with a contact. Good, men. Further. Get the ball.” There are 22 field players and three goalkeepers.
“Absolute dream player”
National players such as Kevin Trapp and Randal Kolo Muani are not expected in team training until the middle of next week. Surely, as at the start, six goals will be played for practice. Three small goals on the left, three normal ones on the right: It sometimes happens in quick succession, because measurements are taken from all layers and positions.
While newcomer Hugo Larsson lands a direct hit with a shot in the corner, Ellyes Skhiri, who is fundamentally more defensive, is still holding back with offensive actions. The Tunisian, who came to Eintracht from FC Cologne, should play a key role in defensive midfield. “He’s an absolute dream player,” said sports director Krösche when the transfer of the 28-year-old, who had joined Eintracht on a free transfer, was perfect.
On Wednesday, a day and a half after the start of training, Skhiri is sitting on the press podium in the professional camp and patiently answering the reporters’ questions. He only does this in French in emergencies. Most of the time, however, he chooses the language he learned during his four-year stay in Cologne. He speaks of a “new stage” that he wants to tackle with Eintracht and “that I need now. It’s important for my sporting development.” After fruitful talks with sports director Krösche and coach Toppmöller, Skhiri quickly realized: “Frankfurt was the best project I felt. I got the feeling that I can be important for the club.”