They were the trident that won the DFB Pokal, took the Bundesliga by storm with their goals, and fired Eintracht Frankfurt into Europe. Sebastian Haller, Luka Jović and Ante Rebic were the front three that Adi Hütter unleashed on German football to devastating effect on the 2018-19 season.
The trio were then all lured away last summer with the promise of bigger and better things. All three have struggled in their new surroundings forcing them to come to the realisation that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
The 2018-19 Bundesliga season saw Serb striker Luka Jović hit 17 league goals and provide a further eight assists. In the Europa League he added an additional ten goals as the Adler reached the semi-finals before being knocked out by Chelsea on penalties. He was one of Europe’s hottest properties and Eintracht found it impossible to hold onto the player especially when Real Madrid were at the front of the queue for his signature. A €60 million transfer fee eased their pain and the player signed a six-year contract at the Bernabeu.
Things however just haven’t panned out for the Serbian striker in the Spanish capital and he hasn’t really settled at the club. He started just four La Liga matches under Zinedine Zidane last season scoring just two goals across the whole campaign. He also made negative headlines recently by breaking the lockdown rules and was put in isolation by the club after a friend of his tested positive for Covid-19.
Reports claim that Real are prepared to cut their losses on the former Frankfurt goal-getter and sell him this summer for cut-price €40 million. A return to the Bundesliga might be a possibility with Hertha Berlin being linked.
Back at the Commerzbank Arena in 2018-19 Jović’s strike partner Sebastian Haller had almost as prolific a season scoring 15 Bundesliga goals, providing 10 assists, and adding five goals in European competition.
He too earned a big money move with Premier League side West Ham snagging him for €50 million. The Hammers however find themselves in a real fight to avoid relegation this season with the French striker having scored just seven goals in his 29 appearances and not being able to replicate his goals from Germany.
His first year in England cannot be labelled a roaring success and Frankfurt have lodged a complaint to FIFA complaining that the London side missed their May instalment for the player and still owe them some €24 million.
The third member of the triumvirate is Rebic, who has also not enjoyed the rosiest of times since leaving Frankfurt. He engineered a two-year loan deal with Milan, but life in Serie A has not provided the Croatian World Cup finalist much to get excited about. The26-year-old had a torrid first half the season making just a handful of substitute appearances.
That prompted Wolfgang Steubing, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Eintracht Frankfurt, to speak out in October. “Honestly, I don’t know what to say. He wanted to leave, because otherwise he would be the only one of the three strikers to stay at Frankfurt. Now, he sits outside. He took a gamble and lost. And it won’t get any easier for him” he told Bild.
It has got easier for Rebic with ten goals scored in the second half of the Serie A season, bit it remains to be seen whether he sees out the second year of his loan at the San Siro.
At Eintracht, the trio were on fire, at their respective new homes, they have been a damp squib in the main part and have all not reached the heady heights they had wanted following their big-money moves. The old adage regarding the colour of your neighbour’s grass rings true as does the saying that all that glitters is not gold. Jović, Haller and Rebic are finding that out the hard way.