Manager Michael Skibbe has it all to prove at Frankfurt after failing to impress at managerial positions with Germany, Bayer Leverkusen and Galatasaray. After an average league finish with Frankfurt in the 2009-2010 season, Skibbe will need to bring a little bit more to the table this term if he has any designs on retaining his position at the helm of the club. While no one is expecting miracles, a push for a Europa League spot would be good for Skibbe’s longevity at the club.
Greek international Ioannis Amanatidis has been at the club since 2005. The pacy striker can race through an opposition backline and create havoc for defenders. While he is not always amongst the goals, his leadership, work-rate and teamwork make him vital in attack for Frankfurt.
Brazilian attacking midfielder Caio will look to add to an already impressive collection of goals at Frankfurt this season. Caio’s intelligence and flair gives him the ability to be the dangerman for Frankfurt, and his long-range shots and ability to pick a pass are essential to Frankfurt’s attacking efforts.
Greek international Theofanis Gekas has joined the club after spending most of last season on loan with Hertha Berlin, where he impressed. The partnership of Gekas and Amanatidis up top will mean an immediate understanding and an already developed strike partnership, as the two play with eachother time and again for the Greek national side. Gekas’ strength and aerial ability will match up well with Amanatidis’ pace and work-rate. Frankfurt have a strike partnership, finally, that has the potential to be feared by opposition backlines.
American midfielder Ricardo Clark will finally look to put a long-term injury behind him this season and start to play a regular role for his new club. After signing in January of 2010, Clark made only three appearances for Frankfurt due to injury. Now, though, after a World Cup performance that advertised his potential, Clark will look to break into Frankfurt’s XI and make his place in the lineup permanent. His battling presence and ball-winning qualities are vital if Frankfurt have any chance of keeping clean sheets and grinding out victories. His work-rate and determination should make him a key player for Frankfurt this season.
While most Frankfurt fans will accept another season of mid-table obscurity, I do think Frankfurt can challenge for a Europa League berth this season. While their backline may not be star-studded, their midfield players and their forwards do seem to be very experienced and reliable. I can see Frankfurt really pushing teams like Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund for a Europa League spot this season. If they do manage it in the end, Skibbe will certainly have made amends for past failures.
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