Former Eintracht Frankfurt player Christoph Westerthaler tragically passed away on Friday at the age of 53.

Christoph Westerthaler was only 53 years old.
Christoph Westerthaler was only 53 years old.

Eintracht Frankfurt mourns Christoph Westerthaler, who died on Friday 20 July at the age of 53. The club's thoughts are with Westerthaler's family and friends at this difficult time. The Austrian played for the Eagles between 1998 and 2000.

A place in club folklore

A six-time international, Westerthaler joined Eintracht from APOEL Nicosia in January 1998 when the club was on the up under the stewardship of Horst Ehrmantraut. The forward quickly became a key player en route to promotion back to the Bundesliga that season, scoring several important goals, few more memorable than his last-second winner at Stuttgarter Kickers.

Westerthaler made 27 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht in the 1998/99 campaign, scoring three goals. He played an important role in the club staying up, coming on in the 86th minute of the last game of the season against Kaiserslautern and setting up Jan Age Fjortoft for the goal that completed the 'miracle of Frankfurt' and secured a 5-1 win for the Eagles.

Westerthaler's pass and Dirk Schmitt's famous commentary have gone down in club folklore. "Eintracht Frankfurt are piling on the pressure again, knowing that a goal could relegate 1. FC Nürnberg," said Schmitt at the time. "They're coming forward now with Christoph Westerthaler in a central position – he only has Sforza ahead of him – then it's Fjortoft in the box and it's a goal! A goal for Eintracht Frankfurt – what a performance."

In total, Westerthaler made 47 league appearances for Eintracht, scoring eight goals, before joining FSV Frankfurt in 2000 and eventually returning to Austria. He had worked as a coach since 2003, most recently in China.

"Very connected to Eintracht"

"I got to know Christoph as a cheerful sportsman who felt very connected to Eintracht," said club president Peter Fischer. "Even after his retirement he always enjoyed coming here as a visitor, and he kept in touch with his club and his former team-mates. We're all very saddened by Christoph's early passing, and our thoughts are with his family."