Eagles slip to first home defeat in three months
After ten victories and a draw from their last 11 matches, Eintracht Frankfurt’s unbeaten run finally came to an end on Sunday as the Eagles lost 2-1 at home to VfL Wolfsburg, with Luka Jovic (87’) on target for the hosts.
The Eagles, whose last home defeat came against Werder Bremen on 1 September, started brightly but fell behind when Admir Mehmedi struck on the counter. Daniel Ginczek doubled the visitors’ lead mid-way through the second half before Jovic gave Eintracht hope with a clinical finish, but the youngster’s 15th goal of the season proved to be in vain as Wolfsburg held on for all three points in front of 48,000 spectators at the Commerzbank-Arena. The defeat means Adi Hütter’s side will end Matchday 13 in fifth place in the table.
Personnel: Salcedo among substitutes
Hütter made four changes to the team that sealed top spot in UEFA Europa League Group H with victory over Marseille on Thursday. Jonathan de Guzman took Jetro Willems’ place in midfield after recovering from an upset stomach, while Ante Rebic, Evan Ndicka and Filip Kostic were also recalled to the starting line-up in place of Mijat Gacinovic, Simon Falette and Taleb Tawatha. Mexico international Carlos Salcedo was also named on the bench for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in September.
First half: Visitors strike first
Eintracht were brimming with confidence in the early exchanges and immediately set about stamping their authority on proceedings. Kostic was heavily involved in the opening quarter of an hour, striking the Wolfsburg wall from an indirect free-kick before cutting a low ball back for de Guzman, whose scuffed shot struck the outside of the post. Wolfsburg improved as the half wore on and went close to breaking the deadlock when Wout Weghorst rattled the crossbar from the edge of the area following a swift counter-attack. The Eagles did not heed the warning, however, as Mehmedi fired low past Kevin Trapp just past the half-hour mark to give the Wolves a narrow half-time lead.
Second half: Brave Eagles finally beaten
The encounter opened up in the second half as both teams had chances to score the game’s crucial second goal. Jovic headed de Guzman’s cross wide of the target, before John Anthony Brooks planted a header over Trapp’s crossbar from close range. Hütter threw on Gacinovic and Willems in an attempt to change the flow of the game, only for Wolfsburg to double their advantage when Ginczek fired home Elvis Rexhbecaj’s cross. Rebic was denied by Koen Casteels before the Belgium custodian somehow clawed a Gacinovic effort off the goal-line as Eintracht piled on the pressure in the closing stages. Jovic bundled home his 10th league goal of the season to give the Eagles hope, but there was to be no late comeback as SGE slipped to their first defeat since September.
Summary: All good things come to an end
Eintracht created enough chances to win Sunday’s clash at the Commerzbank-Arena but a combination of bad luck and impressive goalkeeping from Casteels prevented them from extending their remarkable unbeaten run.
Trapp - Russ, Hasebe, Ndicka - de Guzman (Willems 63’), Fernandes (Gacinovic 63’) - Da Costa, Kostic - Rebic - Haller, Jovic
0-1 Mehmedi (31’)
0-2 Ginczek (68’)
1-2 Jovic (87’)