Luka Jovic’s stock has risen exponentially during his two years in Germany’s financial capital. The 21-year-old has scored 36 goals in 75 competitive games for Eintracht Frankfurt, but according to the Serbia international himself, that return is no surprise.
The 2018/19 season in particular saw Jovic emerge as a name on the international stage, finding the back of the net 17 times in the Bundesliga and scoring a competition-high 10 goals as Frankfurt reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
While such numbers may have caught many fans by surprise, that wasn’t the case for the striker himself. "To be honest, I’d hoped for it, secretly," Jovic told bundesliga.com. Ever the team player, though, as shown on the pitch by his combination play with fellow strikers Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic, the 21-year-old believes his success was part of something greater.
"The most important thing is the team had a good season," Jovic said of Eintracht’s journey to the final four of the Europa League and their seventh-placed finish in the league.
Watch: Luka Jovic analysed by Tifo Football
Eyebrows were raised when the then 19-year-old signed for Frankfurt on a two-year loan – now made permanent – in 2017. He had struggled during his season in Portugal with Benfica following his move from youth club Red Star Belgrade and made just four first-team appearances without scoring. Jovic, however, knew he would prove people wrong.
"I’ve never doubted my quality," said the striker who has drawn comparisons with Uruguayan Luis Suarez and Colombian Radamel Falcao. The latter has always been one of his idols. "We pretty much play the same way and I always wanted to be like him," Jovic explained.
The Frankfurt forward also reserved special praise for current Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac, under whom he won the 2018 DFB Cup. "He’s a coach who changed my career. A man who showed me the right path. I’m happy I got to work with him."
It was that cup triumph that helped secure Jovic’s place in Serbia’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which he described as "one of the nicest moments of my career. It was an amazing feeling and I’m happy to have made my World Cup debut so young.
"I only played a couple of minutes at the World Cup but it was a really good motivation for me for last season," he added. And it was that boost that saw the Frankfurt striker start the 2018/19 campaign in such hot form.
Jovic was the Bundesliga’s top scorer at the halfway mark with 12 goals to his name, including five in one match against Fortuna Düsseldorf – the youngest player ever to do so in Germany’s top flight. According to the striker himself, it was "the time I was in my best form", although he believes his best moment of the season was his goal at Chelsea in the Europa League semi-final second leg to take the tie to penalties.
Jovic and Frankfurt, whose team and fans thrilled on the European stage in 2018/19, will get the chance to do the same yet again when they kick off their 2019/20 campaign in the Europa League second qualifying round in July. They return to league action when the Bundesliga recommences on the weekend of 16-18 August.