Eintracht Frankfurt’s Champions League debut lacks cleverness and coolness. Memories of Borussia Dortmund 2011/12 come to mind.

When the first Champions League match in Eintracht Frankfurt’s club history against Sporting Lisbon was over and Djibril Sow had already spent a few minutes digesting the clear defeat, he sobered up in the catacombs of the arena: “The team was too naive. We had many situations in which we made the wrong decision. We lacked consistency up front.”
“Too naive”: Eintracht Frankfurt reminiscent of BVB

The overriding feeling on the Main was: unfortunate loss against Sporting, the result of 0:3 was far too high. They just kept up well. But Eintracht’s debut in the top flight was a complete failure in terms of results.

So the goal of reaching the last 16 is hardly realisable. But Frankfurt are not the first to be shown their limits at this level. A look back at autumn 2011 is worthwhile in this context.

Borussia Dortmund returned to the Champions League stage as surprise champions with Jürgen Klopp on the sidelines after an eight-year absence. Despite all the euphoria, the “gang of rascals” with Mats Hummels, Sven Bender, Marcel Schmelzer, Robert Lewandowski – and also the current Frankfurt player Mario Götze – still visibly lacked maturity.

Dortmund paid a lot of dues in 2011

The first game? After all, BVB managed a 1-1 draw against Arsenal. “We were better than our opponent today. We had so many chances. I think we lost two points today,” said goalscorer Ivan Perisic after the final whistle. In other words: BVB lacked efficiency, cleverness in the decisive moments and coolness.

The end of the story? Even though Borussia had been drawn in a group with the Gunners, Olympiakos Piraeus and Olympique Marseille that was generally considered feasible, they were eliminated from the group with only four points on their account and a goal difference of 6:12.

On the Champions League stage, newcomers often have to pay a lesson. It is then the nuances that are missing and cause games to be overturned.
Eintracht coach Glasner: “Of course it’s bitter for us”.

Eintracht coach Oliver Glasner therefore did not want to contradict when asked whether his team had indeed paid their dues.

The Austrian struggled with the result: “Maybe many coaches have had to answer this question. But it seems to be the case that the newcomer has to pay this dues. That is bitter for us, of course.” All is not lost for Eintracht, of course.

In five days’ time, the away trip to Olympique Marseille is on the agenda. The French side also lost (0:2 at Tottenham Hotspur). Both teams are already under massive pressure. For the loser, it will then probably only be a matter of third place, relegation to the Europa League.

BVB also an encouragement for Eintracht

Nevertheless, BVB learned from its mistakes in no time at all. In the following year, Dortmund eliminated Manchester City, FC Malaga and Real Madrid, among others.

Only FC Bayern München prevented them from being crowned champions at Wembley Stadium. Can Eintracht develop at a similar pace?