Toppmöller criticizes and appeals: 'We need to shift boundaries in our minds'

Frankfurt's coach Dino Toppmöller attributes the recent two defeats in Augsburg and Saarbrücken to a lack of basic virtues. He demands more fire, mutual support, and communication from his players.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 03:41, 7 Dec 2023

When FC Bayern graces the Waldstadion, the potential for surprises is usually high. Frankfurt, along with Gladbach, is the only current Bundesliga team against which Munich has suffered more defeats (20) than celebrated victories (16). Older fans fondly remember the 1970s, when Bayern suffered nine (!) defeats in Frankfurt, once even losing by a score of 0-6.

Younger fans still remember the spectacular 5-1 win in the 2019/20 season or the gala performance of the little magician Amin Younes during the 2-1 victory in the 2020/21 season. Not to forget the 3-1 win in the DFB-Pokal final in 2018, when Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ante Rebic, and others made history. However, sometimes the pendulum swung strongly in the other direction, as evidenced by the 0-5 loss in the Supercup 2018 or the 1-6 defeat last season. Few matchups embody Sepp Herberger's famous saying as well: 'People go to the stadium because they don't know how it will end.'

'Who is the player that motivates the others?'

However, the signs, following recent defeats in all three competitions, do not point towards a surprise this time. Especially as new personnel shortages are looming. Along with Sebastian Rode, Ellyes Skhiri, Kristijan Jakic, and Timothy Chandler, the injured Robin Koch and Hugo Larsson may also be unavailable. Coach Dino Toppmöller appeared combative at the press conference the day after the cup debacle in Saarbrücken.

"We want to show a clear reaction. In the last two games, we were physically and competitively inferior to the opponent. That shouldn't happen to us. The first chance for a title is gone, which is extremely disappointing. Now we have two options," says Toppmöller, elaborating: "The first is that we start to doubt, assume a victim role, or point fingers at others. Or we say: Roll up our sleeves, we take the lead. Who is the player who motivates the others? Who is the player who, after three minutes on Saturday, conveys to every single spectator that he is truly fired up? That's what it's about. We need to bring this to the field." Not only the leaders, but every single professional is called upon.

Having complained of a lack of freshness the previous evening, he now said: "We need to shift boundaries in our minds. Of course, the guys are tired. But in the end, it's still about: How strong is my mind, how strong is my will to go beyond a limit?" He unusually often emphasized the importance of the collective at the press conference. The players need to 'ignite and encourage' each other and also speak their minds on the field. Why these basic virtues were lacking recently, Toppmöller himself cannot quite explain yet."

169 Corners This Year - and Not a Single Goal

It's clear: without these basics, a fiasco against FC Bayern looms. If the team implements Toppmöller's demands, they might have a small chance. This also depends on the form of the day for Munich. The goal will be to play the balls behind the Bavarian defense from a clean, dynamic setup. In the last Bundesliga game in Augsburg, the team had missed doing this, although Toppmöller had identified 'a lot of space behind the line.' Chip balls to the fast Omar Marmoush could be one of the few effective weapons against Bayern.

Normally, set pieces could also be a way to annoy the favorite. However, especially with corner kicks, things are not going well for Eintracht in the Bundesliga this year. The statistics reveal something astonishing: Frankfurt recorded 169 corners this calendar year (rank 5 in the league), but not a single one led to a goal. Thus, Eintracht is the only team that has not scored from a corner this year. For comparison: Bayern needed an average of only 18 corners per goal this season. The last time Ansgar Knauff scored following a corner was on matchday 13 of the previous season in Augsburg. So, it's about time.

Updated: 03:41, 7 Dec 2023