After masterminding league title wins in Switzerland and Austria, Adi Hütter has UEFA Champions League football on the radar at Eintracht Frankfurt, where he has coaxed career-best goalscoring form from Andre Silva and Luka Jovic.
bundesliga.com delves a little deeper into the life and times of one of the German top-flight’s most coveted coaches…
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Role: Head coach
Country of birth: Austria
Hütter enjoyed a playing career spanning 18 years, spent entirely in his native Austria. The midfielder represented Linzer, Altach, Grazer and Kapfenberger, but it’s his seven-year stint with Austria Salzburg which stands out. He won three Austrian Bundesliga titles, the Supercup and reached the 1993/94 UEFA Cup final with the capital outfit he would later coach under their Red Bull moniker.
Hütter, who earned 14 senior international caps for Austria, scored against Frankfurt during Salzburg’s run to the UEFA Cup final, where they lost 2-0 to Inter Milan over two legs. He returned to the club as coach in 2018, after honing his craft with the Salzburg youths and reserves, Altach, Grödig - whom he steered to top-flight promotion - and Young Boys. He won a domestic double in his only season in charge of the RB Salzburg pros in 2014/15, and helped Young Boys to their first Swiss Super League title since 1986 in 2017/18.
Hütter’s debut season in the Frankfurt dugout was a runaway success. The Eagles accounted for the likes of Lazio, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan and Benfica, before losing on penalties in the semi-finals to eventual UEFA Europa League winners Chelsea. Eintracht narrowly missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification but, after a transitional 2019/20 campaign, are right back in the top-four mix at the business end of 2020/21. Hütter’s side are the Bundesliga’s third-highest scorers after 26 rounds of fixtures and one of only three teams to beat Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich. A second Players' Bundesliga Coach of the Year award could be in the offing…
Coaches a bit like: Antonio Conte
Hütter employed a high-tempo 4-4-2 formation that yielded 99 Austrian Bundesliga goals at Salzburg, but has taken a leaf out of Italian tactician Antonio Conte’s playbook on German soil. A three-man back line flanked by dyed-in-the-wool wingers - right and left footers on their respective flanks rather than the inverted variety - and a flexible front three has become his go-to setup. There’s also a clear preference for experience over youth, while he only changes a winning team when injuries or suspensions force his hand.
Did you know?
"He gives us the freedom to show our quality on the pitch," said Real Madrid's Luka Jovic during his first stint under Hütter at Frankfurt. The Serbian was the top-scoring element of a forward trio that produced 68 per cent of Frankfurt’s 60 league goals in 2018/19, along with Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic. After a lean spell in Madrid, he’s returned to Hütter’s attentive gaze in a bid to rediscover his best form. The 23-year-old netted a second-debut brace from the bench against Schalke, but breaking back into starting line-up hasn't been easy.
In Jovic’s path, former Porto, Sevilla and AC Milan striker Silva is averaging a Bundesliga goal every 98 minutes, Daichi Kamada has almost doubled his goal involvement compared to the previous campaign, while Napoli-owned Amin Younes’s electric displays have him in contention for a spot in Germany’s UEFA Euro 2020 squad.
Watch: Kostic, Jovic and Silva - Frankfurt's flying Eagles
What they’re saying
"Adi Hütter is doing a sensational job. Frankfurt are really well drilled and have really developed. They play aggressive football, they press high up the pitch. Kostic is one of the Bundesliga’s best assist providers and in Silva they have a central striker who knows how to score. They’re solid at the back, too." - Flick
"Adi Hütter is a very good coach. He inherited a solid base from Niko Kovac, and has introduced his own elements to it. Like Niko, he gets players performing to their limits, and his team plays with real heart." - RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann
"Adi’s done a fantastic job for us in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and in Europe these past two years. He’s really shown his class, whilst maintaining real composure." - Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic