Filip Kostic: Who is the Eintracht Frankfurt winger who took down Barcelona in the UEFA Europa League?
Filip Kostic was instrumental as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie. bundesliga.com has the career skinny on the Eagles' criminally underrated talisman...
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Position: Left winger
Country: Serbia (45 caps/three goals)
Kostic was the unsung hero of Frankfurt's brush with Europa League glory in 2018/19. The Serbia international contributed 10 goals and 13 assists in all competitions as the Eagles reached the last four of the tournament, and only missed out of the top four by four points. The 6'0" left-sided specialist set a new single-season personal best with 12 goals and 21 assists across his 51 first-team outings in 2019/20.
After having a direct hand in a further 21 goals last season, Kostic has once again doubled down on his performances in 2021/22 campaign, contributing eight Bundesliga assists and four goals. Only four players have more provisions with five matches of the season left to play, while Kostic's wand of a left foot has produced a league-high 167 crosses from open play. He is also the 2021/22 Europa League's top provider, after notching his fifth assist, and scoring twice, against Barcelona in the last eight.
Why VfB Stuttgart and then Hamburg let Kostic go is a mystery. He impressed in his spells at both clubs, producing 17 goals and 20 assists across 128 games, for the most part as a cog in the wheel of two teams mixing it at the wrong end of the standings. Before moving to Germany in summer 2016, he turned heads in Holland with Groningen and his native Serbia with boyhood club Radnicki.
Kostic registered a debut assist for Serbia in an international friendly against Azerbaijan in August 2014, and played in all three of his country's group matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Frankfurt's Mr. Reliable has a total of nine senior international assists to go with his three goals and his performances in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying helped Serbia top their group ahead of the likes of Portugal.
Plays a bit like: Gareth Bale
An athletic left-footed wide player who can score, create, and mucks in defensively: Kostic is unique in his ability to marry attacking and defensive duties without an ounce of protestation. Gareth Bale - the left-back-turned-winger of circa 2012/13 - is probably the closest thing to a modern-day comparison.
Watch: Filip Kostic scores in famous Eintracht win over Bayern
Did you know?
Kostic experienced the heartache of two relegations to Bundesliga 2 in the space of three seasons with Stuttgart and Hamburg, but has never played in Germany's second tier. HSV made the Serbian ace their club record signing following Stuttgart's 17th-placed finish in 2015/16, while Fredi Bobic snapped him up for the second time following the end of the Dinos' top-flight stay two years later.
"I signed Filip at Stuttgart," the former Frankfurt sporting director recalled. "He showcased his extraordinary qualities there and then at Hamburg. We remained in touch, and he acclimatised very well after coming here. He's a quiet and reserved guy, works very hard in training and puts in extra running shifts - he's a top professional."
What they're saying
"Filip has the outstanding ability to see the free man in the middle under the highest pressure. And the technical quality to find him." - Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner
"Apparently Filip has bought a new espresso machine that's working wonders. You can't bring him down, he's a mentality monster." - Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp on his teammate's performances in 2019/20
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