Andre Silva and Filip Kostic shone for a clinical Eintracht Frankfurt side on Matchday 26, rendering a Max Kruse brace inconsequential in a 5-2 win at home to Union Berlin.
The gloves were off right from the start when Robin Knoche drew a fingertip save on the line from Kevin Trapp inside the first minute following a devilish Christopher Trimmel corner, setting the tone for the rest of the half. Silva opened the scoring just seconds later, prodding in from close range from Kostic’s cross, but Frankfurt's lead didn’t last long. Soon afterwards, Julian Ryerson beat Makoto Hasebe to the ball down the Union left and pulled it back for Kruse to drill in the equaliser. The visitors looked dangerous every time they got forward, and Djibril Sow made Frankfurt’s next goalline clearance to keep out an effort from Joel Pohjanpalo. Nico Schlotterbeck then headed wide from a Kruse free-kick as Union dominated their hosts all over the pitch, but they were made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge. A bizarre own goal from Robert Andrich, attempting to pass back to his goalkeeper Andreas Luthe, who slipped, was the catalyst for Union’s implosion, with Kostic and Silva adding two more goals in quick succession to put Frankfurt in the driving seat. A looping Kruse header on the stroke of half-time did give the away side some hope going into the second period, however.
The match was far less frenetic after the interval, as Frankfurt went into game-management mode, trying to force Union to chase the ball and tire themselves out. As such, the first chance of the half didn’t arrive until the 60th minute when Daichi Kamada wriggled free on the edge of the Union box, but he couldn’t get enough power behind his shot to trouble Luthe. Almost immediately, Pohjanpalo could have pulled another goal back for Union after being released by Kruse, but his stinging drive was brilliantly saved by Trapp. Whenever Frankfurt did venture forward, Kostic was invariably involved and it was his cross that gave Kamada his next opening, but the Japanese playmaker’s header was straight at Luthe. A flurry of substitutions in the closing stages prevented either side from getting into any kind of flow, and although Andrich hit the crossbar just before the final whistle, Frankfurt had the final word when substitute Timothy Chandler tapped in from close range in stoppage time to crown a clinical team performance.
- Silva has scored five goals in four games against Union. His first goal of the day was also Frankfurt's quickest so far in 2020/21.
- The Portugal international now has 21 for the season, a record for a Frankfurt player at this stage of a campaign.
- Kruse scored his fourth goal in his last four games here. It was the first time since Matchday 9 that he didn't score from a penalty.
- The 33-year-old has found the target a league-high four times in the opening 15 minutes of matches this season.
- Kostic took his goal tally to four this season, the same as he managed in the entire 2019/20 campaign.
- Only league leaders Bayern Munich have claimed more points in 13 matches in 2021 (31) than Frankfurt (30).
Watch: Silva discusses his fruitful partnership wit Kostic
Frankfurt: Trapp - Ilsanker, Hasebe (c), N'Dicka - Kamada (Hrustic 90'+1), Sow, Rode, Kostic - Barkok (Ache 77') - Silva (Chandler 77'), Jovic (Zuber 77')
Unused subs: Schubert, Bördner, Willems
Out: Durm (hip), Hinteregger (thigh), Toure (pelvis), Tuta (suspended), Younes (suspended)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Union: Luthe - Friedrich, Knoche, Schlotterbeck - Trimmel (c), Prömel (Griesbeck 71'), Andrich, Ryerson (Bülter 83') - Kruse, Ingvartsen (Endo 61') - Pohjanpalo (Teuchert 61')
Unused subs: Karius, Dajaku, Musa, Hübner, Gentner
Out: Awoniyi (thigh), Becker (ankle), Gießelmann (shoulder), Lenz (muscular), Ujah (knee)
Coach: Urs Fischer