Ironically, before the important DFB Cup game against Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt is on fire. A million-dollar dispute is raging in the management floor. A huge upheaval is imminent.
Irritating arguments between the board of directors and the supervisory board, indiscretions, farewell rumors about the successful coach: almost a year after the European Cup triumph, Eintracht Frankfurt got caught up in a negative maelstrom that is noticeable at all levels.
At the end of a very dreary season, the team, which has been without a win since mid-February, is threatened with the departure of board spokesman Axel Hellmann to the German Football League – and according to media reports also that of Oliver Glasner to Chelsea in England.
And in this mixed situation, the pros around ex-world champion Mario Götze should contest the quarter-finals of the cup against 1. FC Union Berlin on Tuesday (6 p.m. / ZDF and Sky). Successful at best – also to distract from the internal quarrels.
The leadership crisis has “no effect on sport at all”, said sports director Markus Krösche, but his appearance in the ZDF “Sportstudio” had only just made the absurdity of the situation on the Main clear.
Confidence question asked at Eintracht Frankfurt?
“I don’t think it’s really a big deal. Of course we’re a team. We all work well together, as does the board,” said the 42-year-old on Saturday evening.
A few minutes later, the “Bild-Zeitung” reported on a letter from the board of directors around Krösche and Hellmann, in which the question of confidence in the supervisory board was said to have been asked.
On Sunday, the response from the head of the supervisory board, Philip Holzer – in the heated argument between Hellmann’s opponents – followed in the form of an internal letter to the supervisory board and the club board. This was also leaked to the media and quoted verbatim.
“Basically, it is unpleasant when confidential documents are made public,” said a club spokesman for the German Press Agency. At the wrong time, the loyal fans of Eintracht, who are highly praised in European football, can see why their club’s management team has been torn apart.
According to media reports, the core of the deal is a valuation report commissioned by the board of a rating bank. Apparently, there should be voices on the supervisory board who consider the alleged value of around 500 million euros for the football company to be too high. Supervisory Board Chairman Holzer and his business partner Stephan Orenstein are also shareholders, owning 16.81 percent of the shares in the football company. When it comes to purchasing additional packages, the buyer benefits from a lower rating. Of course, the club is interested in a highly rated million rating.
Eintracht Frankfurt loses the successful coach?
“It is important for me to emphasize in this whole discussion: I only need emotional returns for my commitment to Eintracht,” quoted the “Bild” newspaper Orenstein.
Club President Peter Fischer announced a clarifying conversation between Holzer and Hellmann. “Differences and different opinions are part of it, but they shouldn’t be carried out in public. Divisive communication is harmful,” said Fischer.
Hellmann, who is currently managing the DFL on an interim basis with Freiburg’s Oliver Leki after the departure of Donata Hopfen, is also being treated as a long-term solution by the league. The leadership dispute in-house could make the DFL job (even) more attractive for Hellmann – and Eintracht would lose one of the architects of the past successful years. The 51-year-old has been working for the Hessians for decades and is highly regarded in the region.
“I appreciate Axel Hellmann very much, but I have to respect that he has a contract with Eintracht until 2027, and I haven’t talked to him about the future either. That will definitely happen,” said DFL supervisory board chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.
For their part, Hellmann and Krösche will seek talks with Glasner, whose contract expires in the summer of 2024. The first series with the entry into the round of 16 of the Champions League were strong arguments for the Austrian to stay.
The performances in the current second half of the season, which could end for Eintracht in the gray midfield, speak against it. Especially when top clubs like Chelsea are looking for a coach.