Eintracht Frankfurt was the first team from the German Bundesliga to begin its 2019/20 season on Thursday evening. It was a Second Round UEFA Europa League qualifying first leg, to which the team had an automatic bye, by virtue of their 7th place Bundesliga finish last season.
Their opponents on Thursday were Flora Tallinn of Estonia, away from home.
The side from Germany’s banking capital came out 2-1 winners with goals from Lucas Torro and new signing from Red Star Belgrade, Dejan Joveljic. In between the two strikes, Mihkel Ainsalu shocked Frankfurt, having made it 1-1.
Despite the close score line, Eintracht had been quite dominant, especially in the first 45 minutes of the match. Flora goalkeeper Matvei Igonen came up with multiple big saves throughout the contest.
The Estonian team is currently in mid-season domestically, while Frankfurt only started pre-season a few weeks ago. Yet, the superiority in class was deceive in the away side’s favor.
This is remarkable, given the fact that the Eagles had to deal with the departure of Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller to Real Madrid and West Ham United respectively, along with having several other key players missing, as they sort out their future.
Even so, Eintracht Frankfurt played with ten players in the starting eleven, who had been there the previous season, with Dominik Kohr being the only exception. (The above-mentioned Dejan Joveljic came off the bench, and is expected to be the replacement for Jovic in the future.)
The team’s fans are still in a state of euphoria, after last season’s European run saw them only narrowly eliminated on penalty kicks of the semifinals of the Europa League to eventual winners Chelsea. So much so, that even next Thursday’s second leg against the Estonian side is sold out.
Eintracht Frankfurt will want to play a similar role in this season’s competition, but they must first do their homework in qualifying.