Djibril Sow has become a mainstay of the Eintracht Frankfurt midfield, helping them finish fifth in the 2020/21 season before going far with Switzerland at UEFA Euro 2020.
bundesliga.com fills you in on the Eagles' dynamic No. 8…
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Position: Central Midfield
Country: Switzerland (17 caps)
Sow's first club as a boy was BC Albisrieden, but he soon linked up with FC Zürich as an 11-year-old. The midfielder played against Germany for Switzerland at the European U17 Championship in 2014, which likely played a part in a move to Borussia Mönchengladbach a year later. Sow had not played senior football before his move to Gladbach, and initially he lined out with the Foals' reserve team. The six-foot tall central midfielder eventually made his professional debut in October 2016, coming on against VfB Stuttgart in the second round of the DFB Cup. Sow played just three times in all competitions in his two years with Gladbach, however, and returned to Switzerland in July 2017.
He soon imposed himself in the Swiss Super League, and in 2017/18 - under the guidance of Adi Hütter - he helped Young Boys become Swiss champions for the first time in 32 years. Hütter left that summer but Sow hung around to win another title before being reunited with the Austrian coach in Frankfurt. Of Swiss and Senegalese descent, he started all six of Young Boys' UEFA Champions League group-stage fixtures in 2018/19 ahead of his return to Germany as a fully fledged international. Sow made his first appearance for Switzerland against Iceland in September 2018, and later helped them finish fourth in the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals. A regular starter for Eintracht, he had made 57 Bundesliga appearances ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Plays a bit like: Leon Goretzka
One of Sow's idols growing up was Thierry Henry, but the Eagles midfielder is a much more destructive player than the former Arsenal, Barcelona, and France star. The Eintracht man can play any role in central midfield, but being quick, powerful and good in the tackle means he is well suited to going box-to-box. His passing success rate of just over 90 percent also made him the ninth-best player in the league in that category in 2020/21. In that sense he is a bit like Bayern Munich's Goretzka, although Sow will need to add more goals to his game to truly match up to the Germany powerhouse.
Did you know?
Sow is not the only Switzerland international and former FC Zürich player in the extended family. His cousin Coumba is a midfielder who has played for the women's national team. Both of their fathers are from Senegal, and the two future Swiss stars often played football in the playground together and at family get-togethers. "Djibi and I always went to kick a ball about," Coumba once told Swiss newspaper Blick. "No one else in the family was as enthusiastic about football as we were."
What they're saying
"We're absolutely convinced of his ability to perform and his potential to develop further. His technical, strategic and athletic abilities will strengthen us." - then-Eintracht board member Fredi Bobic after signing Sow to a five-year deal in July 2019
"It's relatively easy to play alongside him because it feels like he has already played a thousand games in the Bundesliga. He helps me hugely as a young player and coaches the whole team." - Sow on how playing beside Japanese veteran Makoto Hasebe in midfield for Eintracht helped him hone his skills
"He is a fast, box-to-box player who will definitely enrich our game." - Adi Hütter speaking shortly after Sow's arrival in Frankfurt