Internationals: Quintet in action
Six Eintracht Frankfurt players are currently involved with their national teams, five of whom were in action this week.
Mijat Gacinovic and Serbia suffered a blow to their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying hopes on Friday, losing 3-2 to Austria in Vienna. Gacinovic was taken off in the 87th minute, two minutes before Louis Schaub netted the winning goal for the hosts. With 18 points from their nine matches so far, though, Serbia remain on course to top their group. They host Georgia on Monday, while second-placed Wales (17 points) take on third-placed Republic of Ireland (16 points).
Elsewhere, Lukas Hradecky helped Finland extend their unbeaten run in qualifying to three matches. A last-gasp goal from Pyry Soiri earned the Finns a 1-1 draw in Croatia after Mario Mandzukic had opened the scoring in the 57th minute. Finland end their qualifying campaign at home to Turkey, whose hopes of reaching the World Cup are over after losing 3-0 to Iceland. If he goes the distance on Monday, Hradecky will be the only Finland player to have played every single minute of their Group I campaign.
Renat Dadashov, meanwhile, failed to make an appearance for Azerbaijan in their 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic, but the 18-year-old will hope to feature in their final World Cup qualifier against Germany in Kaiserslautern on Sunday.
Carlos Salcedo played the full 90 minutes in Mexico’s 3-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago, which consolidates El Tri’s position at the top of the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings. Juan Carlos Osorio’s side, who have won five of their six games with Salcedo in their team (drawing the other), have already secured their place in Russia next summer and travel to Honduras for their final qualifier on Wednesday.
Youngsters Luka Jovic and Aymen Barkok were also in action this week. Jovic played the full 90 minutes in Serbia Under-21’s 2-0 win over Macedonia, which maintains the Serbians’ winning start to their 2019 U21 EURO qualifying campaign. Jovic and co, who have yet to concede a goal in Group 7, take on Russia on Monday. Barkok, meanwhile, was named in the starting line-up for Germany Under-20’s 1-0 friendly victory against the Netherlands on Thursday. Frank Kramer's team will hope to build on that success against Switzerland on Monday.