Adi Hütter’s Eintracht Frankfurt are no strangers to competing in Europe. The Bundesliga outfit were amongst the last four in the Europa League of 2018/19 before their campaign was ended by eventual winners Chelsea. Eintracht fans were treated to a taste of former days of success after having lifted the very same trophy back in 1980, and were also runners-up in Europe’s premier competition, the European Cup (now Champions League) in 1960.
The one-time Bundesliga winners and five-time DFB Pokal champions secured a seventh place league finish under Hütter last season, and will therefore kickoff their qualification campaign for the Europa League in July. As they bid to reach the last four again and perhaps even go further this time, Hütter will see a return to familiar surroundings as a perfect opportunity to test his side against fellow European opposition in Luzern, who will also contest the Europa League qualifying stages, and Young Boys who will be bidding to reach the Champions League group stages for a second consecutive year.
However, Hütter has already had to contend with the blow of losing last season’s leading marksman Luka Jovic. The Serbian international forward who notched 27 goals in all competitions in 2018/19 left Eintracht for Real Madrid, costing the Spanish giants a hefty sum of €60 million.
Yet Hütter still has an impressive arsenal of attacking options who will be setting their goal scoring sights ahead of the new season at the 55th Uhrencup. Striker Sebastien Haller notched 20 goals in all competitions in the 2018/19 season, whilst Croatia international and 2018 World Cup finalist Ante Rebic contributed a further ten. In midfield, Eintracht boast the talent of Swiss international midfielder Gelson Fernandes, who will be a familiar face to Uhrencup spectators, alongside Filip Kostic, another Serbian who struck ten goals from midfield last season. Capped Dutch internationals Jetro Willems and Jonathan de Guzman and seasoned Japanese international Makoto Hasebe also bolster their ranks.
Their first Uhrencup test will be against Bernese outfit and reigning Swiss champions Young Boys. Adi Hütter will be looking to get one over on his former club, with whom he oversaw a first Swiss title success in 32 years, a victory which his successor Gerardo Seoane has consolidated in 2018/19 by retaining the trophy. Buoyed by their performance in the Champions League group stage, Hütter will also know his former club will be much more seasoned opposition for their experience in Europe’s premier competition and they will be a far more effective test for Eintracht as a result. Luzern, their second Uhrencup tie, are a direct rival in the Europa League qualifying round and may cross paths with Eintracht en route to the competition. Facing potential opposition will be seen as no better way to prepare for the tests European football will pose once again this year, as Hütter and his side look to enjoy a successful campaign and emulate last season’s impressive performance.