Eintracht Frankfurt trainer Oliver Glaser was surprisingly forthcoming about his squad plans ahead of a Monday Bundesliga fixture away at Leverkusen tomorrow.
At least four changes will be made to the starting XI.
For Eintracht head-coach Oliver Glasner, Thursday’s return leg Europa League semi-final against West Ham United takes “top priority” when it comes to work management among his personnel. The SGE trainer admitted as much during his final pre-match Bundesliga presser on Sunday.
Given that Frankfurt can no longer qualify for Europe through the league table, it seemed not worth hiding that qualification for Europe as Europa League Champions remained the goal.
“My job is the figure out what’s best for Eintracht Frankfurt,” Glasner candidly admitted, “Not what’s best for Bayer Leverkusen or any other club. I don’t get paid by them and so I don’t worry about it.”
It was such that Glasner freely offered up information about which players would be making the trip to North-Rhine Westphalia and which ones would be left behind to rehab injuries. Based on the info conveyed by the coach, there will be at least four changes to the XI that beat West Ham.
For starters, Glasner isn’t prepared to chance it with injured attacker Jesper Lindstrøm.
“It will be a race against time to get him ready for Thursday,” Glasner said of the Dane.
Lindstrøm remains behind in Frankfurt, as does winger Christopher Lenz and captain Sebastian Rode. Glasner also revealed that Martin Hinteregger had come down with a cold and would be rested for Thursday. The absence of Lindstrøm, Hinteregger, and Rode–combined with striker Rafael Santos Borré’s suspension on accumulated league yellow cards–leaves Glasner in need of four new starters.
Glasner actually let slip that he planned to give 23-year-old striker Ragnar Ache his first Bundesliga start. The Germany U21 international and Olympic representative, long considered a top prospect by many, has (partially due to injuries) waited over two years since his arrival from Sparta Rotterdam for the privilege.
As to whether Glasner planned to rotate other Europa League starters like Ansgar Knauff, Daichi Kamada, Djibril Sow, and Filip Kostic, the SGE trainer remained more tight-lipped.
“It’s all about maintaining rhythm,” he noted, “There will also be some [in the Monday lineup] who played last Thursday and will play this Thursday.”
There was a somewhat poignant moment at the presser when reporters asked Glasner if his plans to prioritize the Europa League counted as a deliberate “distortion of competition.”
“This year we’ve dropped points to teams in the relegation race,” Glasner noted with some sarcasm and humor, “No one accused of of distorting the competition then. I look out for Eintracht Frankfurt.”
Final lineups are posted before start.
Greuther Fürth – Leverkusen 1-4
|1||L. Hradecky (C)|
|10||K. Demirbay ↪77|
|19||M. Diaby ↪82|
|9||S. Azmoun ⚽ ↪73|
|14||P. Schick ⚽ ↪82|
|13||L. Alario ↩82|
|22||D. Sinkgraven ↩73|
|15||J. Baumgartlinger ↩82|
|25||E. Palacios ↩77 ⚽|
West Ham – Frankfurt
|36||A. Knauff ⚽|
|17||S. Rode (C)|
|29||J. Lindstrøm ↪62|
|15||D. Kamada ⚽|
|19||R. Borré ↪90|
|21||R. Ache ↩90|
|23||J. Hauge ↩62|
|24||D. da Costa|