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Toppmöller sees development but there is still room for improvement

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Toppmöller sees development but there is still room for improvement

Despite all the worries and setbacks, Dino Toppmöller has not lost sight of the most important thing in football. “We want to win another game.” That is the task for the coming weeks, said Frankfurt’s coach after the 2-2 home game against VfL Wolfsburg. When his coach Niko Kovac heard his colleague’s statement, he had to smile on the podium in the press conference room on Sunday. Finishing the game as a winner “was a while ago for us,” Kovac admitted shortly afterwards.

Two football teachers who basically complain about the same problem and can’t seem to solve it: Wolfsburg have now been without a sense of success for eight Bundesliga matches; The club has only won two of the last 17 games. And Eintracht, which is stingy with positive experiences? They haven’t been successful in six competitive games. How you only managed four wins in the last 18 competitive games. No wonder that the two draw specialists (Frankfurt have ten, VfL seven) did not allow themselves a winner on matchday 23.

The accumulation of draws is far too little for Eintracht’s great ambitions. After six games in the second half of the season, she only has seven points. Currently in eleventh place in the ranking, while Frankfurt finished the first half of the season in sixth place with 27 points. The Hessians also now occupy this position in the overall table. But the competition behind them from Hoffenheim, Bremen and Freiburg is slowly approaching the international places. And if tenth-placed and surprise newcomer Heidenheim were to win at home against Eintracht next Saturday (3:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky), they would only be three points behind the Hessians. They would be in more and more trouble in terms of the table.

Especially in view of its performance this calendar year, Frankfurt’s position in the rankings is anything but solid. In terms of play, the necessary development steps are still a long time coming; there is too much idle time. Toppmölller has not yet managed to permanently stabilize his team at a respectable level. Too many players have been lagging behind their form in the past few weeks. They made serious misfires that led to goals conceded.

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Development would also include setbacks, said Markus Krösche on Sunday. “It’s not a motorway, it’s more like serpentines.” Fluctuations were part of it, said the sports director. But Eintracht’s path to the top seems to be particularly difficult because the coach and team are not making any progress on their desired route. Most recently in the Conference League and before that in the DFB Cup – Eintracht left both competitions early with embarrassing performances – they were literally left with a total loss.

Anyone who listened to Krösche and Toppmöller after the 2-2 draw got the impression that Eintracht had now achieved the liberation they had hoped for in their struggle for the right solution. Krösche emphasized the team’s “very good morale and mentality”; they had “come back impressively, that was a point of will and morale,” said the sports director about the hard-fought result, which Omar Marmoush made it 2-2 with his goal made in stoppage time.

“It’s always important to me what energy we have on the pitch. How courageous is the team, how much does it want to play forward? I think that was a really good step,” summed up Krösche. And Toppmöller found it “unbelievable” how his team “fought back” after the two deficits. “The morale is intact, the troops are alive,” he said with exuberance in his voice. Nobody could deny the players’ ability to rebel against the defeat; their defensive attitude on the pitch showed that the coach reached out to his players emotionally.

Nevertheless, by emphasizing the team’s good attitude, which should be a basic requirement and normal in sport, Toppmöller and Krösche made the performance better than it actually was in its entirety. Because Eintracht’s game is still too fickle and error-prone. The fact that Toppmöller likes to change the basic order could be one reason for this. His personnel selection also occasionally raises questions because he does not resort to the obvious solutions at the moment for certain positions. Or trusted decisions he made for too long that did not bring the hoped-for success. In any case, the team, which is far too unstable for higher demands, has not been able to get rid of its insecurity.

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Published/Updated: Ralf Weitbrecht, Frankfurt Published/Updated: Recommendations: 1 Jörg Daniels Published/Updated: Recommendations: 3

The many positive words from Toppmöller and Krösche also reflected their great relief that Eintracht had prevented the worst possible scenario with the late equalizer. Just three days after being eliminated from the Conference League, the next failure would have exacerbated the crisis in Frankfurt. But this way, Toppmöller and the club, who have been particularly criticized in those around them, can take a breather.

However, Eintracht, who have been spoiled for success for a long time, are far from over the hill. “There is room for improvement in terms of football,” said Krösche. “Not everything that glitters is gold.” To stick with his metaphor of the serpentines: Eintracht has to turn the corner as quickly as possible if they want to achieve the victory they long for.

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