Some days, some players are just unplayable. That has been increasingly true for Eintracht Frankfurt winger Filip Kostic in recent weeks, but especially so in the Eagles’ 3-1 win away to Hoffenheim on Matchday 20.
The 28-year-old was the driving force behind Frankfurt’s sixth victory in their seventh Bundesliga assignment in 2021, the 19 points taken from 21 available making them the league’s most in-form team.
Watch: Highlights of Frankfurt's win over Hoffenheim
His strike, a low shot across the goalkeeper to finish off a counter-attack, was the all-important opener, and his second in three games, while his deliveries for Evan N’Dicka and Andre Silva took his assist tally to five in in his last five.
“Filip was the man of the match, judging by the stats,” said head coach Adi Hütter afterwards. “He scored the vital opening goal, set up two more goals and did some very good work defensively.”
Silva, whose header took his personal haul for the season to 17, was equally complimentary of his attacking partner: “Filip’s a great player and he deserved to have a brilliant game like this one. His cross for my goal was perfect.”
As impressive as Kostic has been since the turn of the year, it has not always been the case this season. He struggled with injury prior to the winter break and was unable to recapture his best form.
However, his uptick in performances and stats have coincided with the return of close friend and Serbian compatriot Luka Jovic to the club, on loan from Real Madrid.
“Filip laughs more again now in the changing room,” commented Sebastian Rode after the final whistle on Sunday. “You feel even better when a friend comes back, and he’s showing that out on the pitch.”
Jovic himself recently conceded that Kostic’s improvement is “maybe a little bit down to me coming back”, but whatever the reason is, the winger’s influence on Frankfurt’s game cannot be overstated.
Watch: Silva reflects on Frankfurt's win
Now fourth in the table, two points ahead of sixth-placed Borussia Dortmund and with Bayern Munich the only team to have scored more often (58 to Frankfurt’s 41), the in-form Eagles are on course for European – and perhaps even Champions League - qualification.
Their credentials in that regard will be put to the test over the coming weeks, with fixtures against both Bayern and RB Leipzig among their next five league outings, but with Kostic in this kind of form, those games cannot come soon enough.