Dhe calendar year 2022 was not yet over when Oliver Glasner presented himself full of fighting spirit as he looked forward to the new year. Here’s to a new one with more notable successes, and most importantly: Don’t let up now! That was the core message and the great wish of the Eintracht coach in the documentary “Königsklasse in Europa” of the streaming platform DAZN. “Guys, we made history again!” Glasner said in a free speech to his team.
“For the second time this year. In the summer when we won the Europa League. Now we close the book – and it’s over. Or: We are writing a new chapter. First time in the last 16 in the Champions League – with this club. And now we have to ask ourselves the same question: are we closing the book? Then it’s over. Or: We are writing a new chapter – in the new year. Nobody will write this for us. We! And if we want, we will write a new chapter. And our limit? We set our limits!” As a verbal cheerleader, the trainer, who says he is “obsessed with success”, was in his element.
After a good three-week vacation from the exertions of the past few months, the Frankfurt community of success, so focused in 2022, starts the new year this Tuesday with two training sessions at the World Cup arena. Just one day later, Eintracht flies to their winter training camp in Dubai for ten days.
“It’s a mystery”
With the local public excluded, Glasner will prepare his team at the “Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex” for the second half of the season, which begins for the Hessians in fourth place on January 21 with the home game against Schalke 04 – and which the club is looking forward to of the forthcoming highlights.
“We’re looking ahead to 2023 and we know we’ll be in all three competitions. We’re on a Champions League place in the Bundesliga, we’re in the round of 16 in the Champions League and we have a big game against Napoli ahead of us. Despite all attempts at an explanation, it is a mystery,” Axel Hellmann summarizes the long-lasting upswing of Eintracht in the club’s own media in astonishment. The board spokesman believes that the new year will bring Frankfurt “once again in sport, but also in the overall emotionality surrounding the club. We want to be a club with an international focus, but we also want to maintain our deep roots in the fans and in our home country.” For Hellmann it is important “that this balance is maintained”.
The number of members in the Europa League winners continues to rise sharply. As of December, Eintracht has more than 120,000 members in its ranks. According to club president Peter Fischer, the Frankfurters are the sixteenth largest club in the world. “I’m incredibly proud of that. As my colleagues in membership administration say: President, the journey continues. That means there is no stop in sight,” says the 66-year-old, delighted with the seemingly unlimited possibilities.
At Eintracht, who will play two friendlies in Dubai on January 7 against RB Leipzig and on January 13 (1:00 p.m.) against the Polish first division club KKS Lech Poznan, there are signs of an attack at the beginning of this year as well. “I want all of us at the club and the team to get back on the gas pedal from now on. And in such a way that we’re going full throttle again from now on,” says sporting director Markus Krösche. Glasner wants to lay the foundations for the preparations – the only new signing so far is 19-year-old American attacking player Paxten Aaronson – so that his team can continue to offer “exciting, honest football” in matches.
With regard to the composition of the squad, there should be no serious changes. Krösche announced that Eintracht would not give up any important players. Daichi Kamada and Evan Ndicka still have contracts, but from July 1 they would be free for new employers if both did not accept Eintracht’s contract offers to extend their cooperation.
At the moment there are indications that the Japanese Kamada (possibly Borussia Dortmund) and the Frenchman Ndicka, who is obviously interested in Spanish, Italian and English clubs, will face new professional challenges on financially very attractive terms. Krösche’s opinion shouldn’t change that either, who thinks it’s best for Kamada and Ndicka’s career paths if both don’t leave Eintracht.
On the delivery side, there probably won’t be much activity in winter. Prominent change candidates are at most Rafael Borré and Luca Pellegrini. The Colombian Borré is bothered by his reserve role; with an economically reasonable offer from another club, the striker should probably go. And Pellegrini, on loan from Juventus, has barely lived up to expectations so far. Defender Jérôme Onguené is also about to jump off.
Either way: According to Glasner, the Hessians have it in their own hands to continue their spectacular successes in the new year. If he has his way, there will be no upper limits to Eintracht.