Andre Silva (l.) was good before Luka Jovic (r.) returned to Eintracht Frankfurt - now he’s unstoppable. - © imago images
Andre Silva (l.) was good before Luka Jovic (r.) returned to Eintracht Frankfurt - now he’s unstoppable. - © imago images
bundesliga

Andre Silva: MD18's Man of the Matchday thriving thanks to Luka Jovic at Eintracht Frankfurt

Andre Silva was already a prolific striker for Eintracht Frankfurt before Luka Jovic arrived on loan from Real Madrid earlier this month, but since the Serbian's return, he has, to use the technical term, been smashing it.

After a slow start to the season, the Eagles' form began to improve in mid-December, a 3-3 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach kick-starting a seven-game unbeaten streak in the league that has included five wins.

By the time Jovic's loan deal from Madrid was confirmed on 14 January, Frankfurt were ninth, 12 points above the relegation zone and just two behind Wolfsburg in sixth. By that stage, Silva had already scored 11 goals at a clip of one every 107 minutes on average.

For context, only Robert Lewandowski (61 minutes), Erling Haaland (78), Cristiano Ronaldo (79) and Kylian Mbappe (83) have a better goals-per-minutes ratio in the Europe's top five leagues this season.

Since Jovic's arrival, however, Frankfurt have taken more points (seven from nine) and scored more goals (10) than any other team, lifting them into sixth place and just two points off the top four. Silva, meanwhile, has hit three goals in three outings at a rate of one every 90 minutes.

Coincidence? Not a chance. While it is an admittedly small sample size, head coach Adi Hütter confirmed the galvanising effect Jovic has had on his squad.

Silva already has more goals this season than he managed in the entire 2019/20 campaign. - Jan Huebner via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Jan Huebner

"I spoke to Andre and he said that it's very, very important for him to have competition for places, that we have quality in the side," the 50-year-old said after Frankfurt’s 2-2 draw with Freiburg on Matchday 17.

"That doesn't bother him at all. Andre's played at AC Milan and Sevilla, so it's not like he's not used to it, and we'll see in the next few weeks that he's able to cope with the competition. And he'll have seen that with Luka we've got another striker he can harmonise with, whether we play with one up front or two."

Silva has retained his starting place so far, operating as the lone striker in Hütter's preferred 3-4-2-1 formation, but Jovic has nevertheless had an impact and his found the target three times off the bench. That is more than enough to keep anyone on their toes.

"Luka's a great player," Silva told bundesliga.com after scoring twice in Frankfurt's 5-1 triumph away to Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday. "If he came and he can help us then, of course, it's good for everyone. We're happy to have him here and we try to make things better for the whole team, for Eintracht."

Watch: Silva: "Happy to have Jovic at Frankfurt"

That brace took Silva to 14 league goals this season. As impressive a figure as that is, arguably more so is the fact that he is a regular scorer: the 25-year-old has spread those out across 10 games, and he hasn't gone longer than two matches without getting on the scoresheet.

Little wonder, then, that Jovic is equally pleased to be keeping such good company. "Luka said that it's an honour for him to play in the same team as Andre," Hütter added. "That shows the character he has and how much he respects Andre."

It is not only Silva who has benefitted. Filip Kostic's only goal contribution in 11 outings before Jovic's arrival this season was an assist in a 3-3 draw away to Union Berlin. Now that his Serbian compatriot and friend is back, he's scored one and provided three more assists in three games, including teeing up two of Jovic's goals.

Filip Kostic has also been flying since Jovic’s return to Frankfurt. - Anke Waelischmiller/SVEN SIMON via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Sven Simon

"I'm pleased that Filip scored again after almost a year without a goal," Hütter said after the Bielefeld victory. "He's rediscovered his good left foot and his assists were very good as well. His improved performances are down to Luka Jovic coming back. They're good friends and stayed in contact with each other."

With Frankfurt facing four struggling sides between now and the end of February - Hertha Berlin (14th), Hoffenheim (13th), Cologne (16th) and Werder Bremen (12th) - the prospect of Silva, Jovic and Kostic tormenting leaky defences will mean those games cannot come soon enough for Hütter and Co.