Football Features

Wolfsburg’s “left foot of the gods” strikes again, but Eintracht Frankfurt earn 2-1 win

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:43, 30 May 2020

Eintracht Frankfurt earned a much-needed 2-1 win at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga this afternoon.

The visitors, who are in the middle of a relegation fight, were grateful to André Silva and Daichi Kamada who netted either side of Kevin Mbabu thus earning a first win on the road since January.

Frankfurt, though, ended the game with 10 men after Lucas Torró was shown two yellow cards in the space of four stoppage-time minutes.

For the hosts, it’s another disappointing result at home, one win from their last seven played, which is surely becoming a concern.

With the dust beginning to settle down, here are five things we learned from this encounter.

1. Experience aids Frankfurt

To say Eintracht Frankfurt manager Adi Hütter is feeling the heat would be an understatement. His side entered matchday 29 sitting just two points above the relegation zone. Desperate for all three points, the Austrian tactician fielded the club’s oldest starting lineup at Wolfsburg (the average age being 28.7 years old), with only three players — Daichi Kamada (23), André Silva (24) and Mijat Gacinovic (25) — aged 25 or under.

In the past such experience was ultimately a deciding factor, but in the high-paced modern Bundesliga, it’s not everything. Frankfurt’s recent issues didn’t go away today, but their second-youngest starter did get on the scoresheet, bagging his seventh of the campaign from 12 yards. Silva who is currently on-loan from AC Milan stepped up to convert a first Bundesliga penalty after Marin Pongracic brought him down just before the half-hour mark.

2. Still waiting for a clean sheet

Frankfurt conceding shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Going into the weekend only three sides — Mainz (35), Köln (32) and Augsburg (31) have conceded more on the road than Eintracht (30) but unlike the aforementioned trio we are yet to see them keep a clean sheet away from home.

In fact, they remain the final Bundesliga team yet to keep an away clean sheet this season, it’s a statistic that must frustrate their coach, who despite knowing strong performances at home could secure their top-flight status, the pressure that comes from being poor outside Frankfurt only makes that task of staying up harder.

3. Brekalo burns bright

Wolfsburg began the game in a 4-4-1-1 which presented an opportunity for Croatian international Josip Brekalo, who normally plays out wide on the left flank, to shine in the deep-lying forward role behind marksman Wout Weghorst and he didn’t let anyone down even if his team came short.

Brekalo was at the heart of everything positive Wolfsburg did; not only by pulling the strings, but he completed four take-ons (most by anyone on the pitch), created ample chances (2) and regularly threatened Kevin Trapp’s goal (four shots). He turns 22 next month and with an incredible upside don’t be shocked to see him at one of Europe’s super clubs down the road.

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4. Repeat trick

Frankfurt would have done their homework following Wolfsburg’s sensational win over Bayer Leverkusen in mid-week. One player Hütter no doubt placed great emphasis on is Maximilian Arnold who’s now fast-becoming a set-piece master. He not only scored from a free-kick but created two more standing over a dead ball.

Pongracic was the recipient on both occasions, his brace plus Renato Steffen’s effort brought their overall tally of headed goals for the season to 11, energetic right-back Kevin Mbabu made it 12 after he profited from another Arnold free-kick assist. It’s now six for the campaign, only Christopher Trimmel has created more goals from set pieces (7) than Arnold.

5. Anything you can do…

Speaking of back-to-back tricks, Kamada — mentioned earlier as one of Frankfurt’s three youngest starters today — scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season in their 3-3 draw with Freiburg a few days earlier. That was part of their comeback after staring a 3-1 deficit in the face.

This afternoon the Japanese midfielder was on hand to strike the winning goal, after finding himself in space following a Bas Dost knock-down. The win also brings Eintracht’s overall points total on the road to 10, not the greatest, but it’s something they can build on.

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