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More than just a fan favorite

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More than just a fan favorite

Receives support from many quarters, even if he only plays a little: Timothy Chandler

Timothy Chandler did not play in the 3-1 home win against Augsburg – as has often been the case this Bundesliga season, in which he is not one of the main players. But the 34-year-old still felt the affection and respect of the Eintracht supporters with full dedication almost a week ago in the Waldstadion. As he warmed up before the corner in the second half, they shouted his name loudly and applauded him warmly. He laughed with joy, clapped his hands and waved back toward the stands. Chandler, who arouses special emotions in the audience, also had his own personal moment of success, which he visibly enjoyed.

The audience favorite, who is a cult favorite for many with his affable and humorous manner, has a special position in his hometown of Frankfurt. He no longer derives his standing and recognition from his current performance on the pitch. Chandler hardly plays an active role there anymore; In his five appearances so far he has only managed a total of ten minutes of playing time, his six minutes at the beginning of April against Werder Bremen (1:1) being the longest.

This Saturday (3:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky) in Munich, Chandler will probably sit on the bench again in a spectator role. He was asked at a press conference on Wednesday whether Bayern were already thinking about their upcoming Champions League opponents Real Madrid and were perhaps distracted. “It’s difficult to speculate with Bayern. “Then you can quickly fall for the Poppes,” Chandler replied with his usual amusing tone and added: “We have to get into the duels and annoy Bayern.”

The versatile right-back, who emphasizes that he “always accepts” his assigned role, draws his reputation from his loyalty to the club, his loyalty, his role as an identification figure and his straightforwardness, which make him a valued personality in the club and its surroundings . He has worn the Eintracht jersey since 2001, interrupted only by his time at 1. FC Nürnberg from 2010 to 2014. Chandler can look back on 194 competitive games for Frankfurt with ten goals and 17 assists.

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Then Chandler steps in and through

As the longest-serving professional who has just extended his contract until July 1, 2025, he has an even more important role to play in the new season. With captain Sebastian Rode and 40-year-old Makoto Hasebe, with whom he returned from FCN to the Main ten years ago, two leading players with great experience are ending their careers after this round. Both will leave a big gap.

From the old group of established players and opinion leaders, only goalkeeper Kevin Trapp remains – and the cheerful Chandler, who is always in a good mood, unless he notices “that there is something wrong in the locker room when the energy or the mutual “Respect is missing.” Then the German-American intervenes as a person of respect and gets through. “We will lose very important pillars after this season.” Therefore, says Chandler, “other players” have to “work into the role of a leader” during preparation for the coming season. His teammate Ellyes Skhiri, for example, had to “come out of himself,” said Chandler and wanted that to be understood as a well-intentioned recommendation. “We can get the cabin under control this way. But what happens on the pitch is also important.”

Mischievous in the neck: Timothy ChandlerHuebner

Too often in this round, the Frankfurt team failed to meet expectations. With regard to the team’s demeanor, “a lot of people lacked passion and a certain level of duelness” – Chandler, who is very sociable, learned this in many conversations with Eintracht supporters. His opinion: “We must not throw away these virtues, what made us successful.” Chandler understands the whistles like in the first half against Augsburg. He doesn’t let that deter him. Rather, he sees this as an incentive to do things better. You shouldn’t let it get you down mentally, said Chandler. “People can express their opinions. What’s important is how you deal with it.”

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Coach Dino Toppmöller has come under criticism from some because of Eintracht’s often unsatisfactory style of play. He is in his first head coach position in the Bundesliga in Frankfurt. “It’s a learning process for Dino Toppmöller. There’s a lot coming at him.” It’s not always that easy when you have a plan and maybe notice that it doesn’t quite work.” The coach will adjust things, believes Chandler. He knows how to deal well with criticism of himself on social networks. If he had taken this too seriously, “I would have had to quit football ten years ago,” said Chandler with his usual humor.

Sports director Markus Krösche values ​​him as an “identification figure and important player. Especially for the young players, the veteran is “a valuable contact on the pitch and in the dressing room,” said Krösche. “With his positive nature, he manages to get others carried away.” For the recognized mood-maker – in the training camp he plays critical and meticulous room service to everyone’s amusement – ​​what always counts is “the big picture – and that is Eintracht Frankfurt,” emphasizes Chandler. He is a mentor for the young and new players and has the internal title of “Integration Minister”.

When he is needed, he is there to give advice and help and takes care of your worries and needs. He always has an open ear for his colleagues. “Once the boys arrive and find their place in the dressing room, then they can usually hear me – at different volumes.” Chandler advises the talents to “show that they really want to become a professional at Eintracht. You should do everything you can and not be afraid of making mistakes. “I also hold my protective hand over it,” he says.

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Chandler emphasizes that he hasn’t lost his ambition today. He, who stands for mentality and morals, is “one hundred percent professional footballer” and wants to “get a chance”. Like at the end of October 2023 against Helsinki, his first appearance this season, when he came on as a substitute after 79 minutes. Every time he touched the ball he was cheered by the fans in the stadium. Especially with his assist to make it 6-0 by junior Dina Ebimbe. The celebrated Chandler proved again that he won’t let himself down, even if his time as a regular player is over. If he sometimes just benefits from his teammates’ bad luck with injuries and gets a few minutes of action as a result.

“People know what I have done for Eintracht,” he says of his achievements. Chandler doesn’t have to be a captain or a goalscorer for his word to carry weight. He has found his niche for the good of Eintracht. And he probably won’t turn his back on the club he loves even after his playing career is over. “Eintracht Frankfurt is my home,” says family man Chandler. “This is my second family.”

And if there is a misunderstanding, he can smile about it. Three years ago, Eintracht announced that Chandler’s contract had been extended until July 1, 2025. In reality, it was only until July 1, 2024. He didn’t mind. “I knew I was staying here.” That was a “small communication error.” “Everyone is allowed,” Chandler said on Wednesday and grinned. Typical Chandler.

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