Barring a miracle this summer that includes a Europa League victory and subsequent Champions League qualification, Eintracht Frankfurt will not feature in European competition next season for the first time in three years. Despite the fallout that may come from not featuring in UEFA competitions, be it income or pulling-power when it comes to recruitment, a short reprieve may actually come as a major blessing in disguise for those in the Main-Metropole for four big reasons.
Giving the players a break
Frankfurt have been one of the most consistently overplayed teams in the Bundesliga over the past few years. The number of competitive games have increased year-on-year from 40 in their DFB Pokal winning season of 2017/18, to 50 in their Europa League semi-final season last year, and now a minimum of 55 this season and that’s if FC Basel confirm Frankfurt’s misery in their second leg tie in August.
A run through to the final of the Europa League would total 58 competitive games played over twelve months – an almost 50% increase on 2017/18. Bayern Munich, as successful as they have been, will only have a minimum of 44 games if they are knocked out in their second leg matchup.
Covid-friendly calendar for 2020/21
The Bundesliga has already announced that it intends to start on August 21, two days before the end of the UEFA competition window, and it’s said that all those still in UEFA competitions will be scheduled to start their league and cup seasons later and catch up.
As such, it could be attractive to have a more condensed calendar and focus on the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal, something die Adler have become known for competing well in.
Not only this, but Germany could well go into lockdown again soon considering the climbing R rate for coronavirus, and there continues to be potential for next season to see interruptions as well. Having less games to fulfil can mean better flexibility and less fatigue throughout the season.
History to repeat itself?
The 2017/18 season saw Frankfurt in the throes of creating a contender both domestically, and overseas as we saw the following year. The rebuild is in its foundation this season, and still found itself looking towards the European spots until a week or so before the end, in the semi-finals of the Pokal and the Round of 16 of the Europa League.
Having the time to focus on their league position and cup progress, the team can settle into a rhythm, have less injuries (which has been a major concern this year!), and create a core that will have them looking towards them following in in the same vein that fans saw Eintracht Frankfurt have in 2018/19.
No FFP next year
The money may dry up from UEFA competition for a year, but if Frankfurt were serious about investing in their squad and prepared to take the losses, Financial Fair Play is suspended for a year and it would be the ideal time to complete a rebuild without the ramifications of FFP suspensions down the line.