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After having been absent for more than six years, Eintracht Frankfurt reentered the European football stage with a well-deserved 2-0 away win over Azerbaijan club Qarabag Agdam FK. Midfielder Alexander Meier (nicknamed “God of Football”) scored both goals (6’, 75’).
There's a reason why they call him "God of Football": Alex Meier celebrating with Martin Lanig and Stefan Aigner
Eintracht’s manager Armin Veh opted for a 4-2-3-1 starting formation with Croatian Srdjan Lakic as the only striker. Injured right-back Jung was replaced by Stefano Celozzi and Johannes Flum jumped in for defensive midfielder Pirmin Schwegler, who is still struggling with a groin injury.
The match couldn’t have started better for Eintracht. With just six minutes on the clock, Alexander Meier broke the tie as he kicked a waist-high cross by Celozzi into the net. It was a beautiful goal, with Meier standing in the box and taking the ball from the air after it had bounced only once.
Having scored a nerve-soothing away goal, Frankfurt remained the dominant team, not investing more than what was necessary while their opponents had a hard time establishing a precise passing game on the bumpy lawn in Tofiq-Bəhramov Stadium in Baku. After 22 minutes, Eintracht’s Japanese midfielder Takashi Inui almost extended the lead, sidestepping his opponent and missing the goal only by inches, with his shot touching the outside of the post.
The second half saw the Frankfurt side continuing their dominant play, with goal scoring chances by Lakic (46’) and Celozzi (59’). However, as the match went on, the hosts made several goal-scoring chances themselves. First, unmarked Muarem fortunately was not able to net in a header after a cross from the right side (63’). About ten minutes later, both George and Chumbinho missed further opportunities to level the score.
Just as the Frankfurt supporters were getting used to the idea that the match might end up as a nail-biter, Meier scored his second goal. The Frankfurt midfielder picked up a cross by Aigner, dribbled into the box and netted the ball in from a narrow angle (75’). However, the hosts kept on fighting, with substitute Nadyrov hitting the cross-bar three minutes before Polish referee Marciniak blew the final whistle.
The 2-0 away victory makes Eintracht a good bet for entering Europa League’s group stage. The call will be made in the second leg in Frankfurt’s Commerzbank-Arena on 29 August 2013. We’ll keep you posted.