Eintracht Frankfurt closed out 2021 in style, with the Bundesliga's Rookie of the month for December, Jesper Lindstrom, central to that form and a love story is unfolding between Die Adler and their 21-year-old attacking midfielder.
bundesliga.com had an exclusive chat with the Denmark international about his superb start to life at the Deutsche Bank Park.
Jesper Lindstrom: "It’s football. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. I think we had some games where we won in the last minute and we scored in the last minute. It’s football. We have a game again Sunday, and we have to be prepared, and have to look forward and do what we can to win this game and get the points we need."
Watch: Frankfurt surrendered a two-goal lead in their 3-2 defeat to Dortmund
bundesling.com: How much of a setback was the Dortmund defeat in Frankfurt’s push to get back into the top four and UEFA Champions League places?
Lindstrom: "It’s one game and it’s against Dortmund. I think if we win this game, everybody will be happy. If we lose, then it’s how it is and we have a lot of games yet. The next round is very important for us because every top team plays against each other. We have to get the three points and we have to go home from Augsburg with three points. We just have to play our game and keep looking forward and not go past to see the games where we don’t win and where we lose the points, because if we do that then we will never come forward and develop as a player."
bundesling.com: Did the winter break come at a bad time for in-form Frankfurt?
Lindstrom: "I think we were also successful against Dortmund, we just had to close the game and win the game. I think maybe the first 60-70 minutes were good. We got the chances, we kept them away from scoring. We just have to hold it and score our chances. I don’t think we changed anything over the break. I don’t think we came back bad. I just think we have to close the game and win it."
bundesling.com: How can you explain Frankfurt’s upturn before Christmas? You were down in 15th at one point but now close to a European place.
Lindstrom: "In the summer when I came, there was a lot of new players, a new coach and a new sporting director. Everything was very new for a lot of players. You also see Rafael Borre. He also needed some time to get going and now he scored two goals against Dortmund. Yeah, I think the connection is coming and came maybe before the break because we won six or seven games in a row. It’s football. At the start of the season, we didn’t win the games we needed to win. I think we have more of a connection, and the coach also knows who and how he wants to play to get the right connections. I think we just have to keep going, keep training, keep developing, keep watching the games so we understand and know how to win the next games."
bundesling.com: What makes you hopeful that the Dortmund loss won’t break Frankfurt’s spirit?
Lindstrom: "As I said, I think we played very well against Dortmund. We just have to close it and keep the score. It has nothing to do with the playing style and our confidence. It’s only about that particular game. We are looking forward. Nobody died or got hurt or anything about this game. We are moving on. We’re focussing on the next game against Augsburg."
bundesling.com: How much interest is there in Denmark for the Bundesliga? Especially the clubs with Danish players.
Lindstrom: "For sure, everybody loves the Bundesliga. We also do that in Denmark. There’s journalists and there’s my friends and there’s my family – everybody’s watching the Bundesliga. Coaches from Danish clubs also watch the Bundesliga; the national team coach – everybody watches the Bundesliga because it’s just a fun league to watch. And there’s a lot of Danish players in the league. For sure, they see the games."
bundesling.com: There have only been more Brazilians in the Bundesliga than Danes when counting non-German players. What do you think it is about the Bundesliga that attracts Danish players?
Lindstrom: "First of all, it’s very close to Denmark. So, for me, it was also important that I found a place where I know that I could live by myself and with my girlfriend and my dog without getting too far away from my family. And second of all, the league is just very good. I like how teams play with counters. It’s just close to the football in Denmark. That’s why I think Danish players search for the Bundesliga before they want to go out to maybe Spain or France or England. I think it’s a very good step for a lot of Danish players, also because the culture is close to the same, the environment is close to the same, and it’s so close to our own country."
bundesling.com: What is it about the Bundesliga that interests you? Why did you pick Frankfurt?
Lindstrom: "Because Eintracht has crazy fans and they have a crazy history. I love the club, I love the project. When I came, how everything was new and we use young players. We got a new coach, we got a new sporting director. It’s close to my family. It’s just a really nice step for me. It’s a top football club, a club in the Bundesliga. If I want to develop, I have to take this step, and Eintracht was perfect for me."
bundesling.com: You’ve been in very good form of late and were again nominated for the Bundesliga Rookie of the Month, which you won in December. What does that mean to you?
Lindstrom: "The prize itself, of course, I’m very proud of it. But the most important thing is the period I had with the team because I could not have done what I did if the team and the players around me didn’t do their job. This is what we needed at the start of the Bundesliga. We had some games where we were not doing our job, we were not finding the right connections. And now it just shows that if the team is good, then I’m good also. I’m very proud of the Rookie of the Month, of course. I’m very proud of the team that we could win so many games in a row. It’s just amazing to play here and play with these guys."
bundesling.com: How do you explain your improved form with a hand in six goals in the six games before Christmas, after having none previously?
Lindstrom: "As I said, I also needed to find those connections. I had some time where I wasn’t playing so much. I developed in the gym, I developed in my food and everything. The small percentages help in football. If I can gain just a little bit off the pitch, then it would help me on the pitch as well. At the start of the period, it was a little bit stressed. I had to find an apartment, find a car, find a lot of stuff. Now I’m more settled. This also makes me calmer when I play on the pitch. When I have to score goals or make assists or help the team, it’s just calmer."
bundesling.com: Does your own upturn in form have anything to do with Frankfurt’s improvement as well?
Lindstrom: "Every player in the world is better when the team is good. That’s normal. When the team is playing well and the confidence in the team is very good, then for sure you also get confidence and you want to do some more. If you lose the ball, then you just go to get the ball again. This is just the spirit in the team right now. It’s just amazing to play here and play with these guys because they make me better and I make them better. If we can always go like this, then it’s going to be very good."
bundesling.com: You’ve been called a ‘promise for the future’ in recent headlines. What do you think of predictions like that?
Lindstrom: "It’s nice to hear that people see my talent and my potential, but I have to show it on the pitch. I have to show it on the training ground, I have to show it in the gym that I always want to develop because if you just lay down and watch the news and the articles about yourself, then you will never get better and stronger. I have to work hard and keep going because this is just the start of a very good career, I hope. I do my best and I train very hard to develop, doing everything I can to get the most out of it."
bundesling.com: Frankfurt are into the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League and are doing well in the Bundesliga. What are your goals for this season?
Lindstrom: "We want to go as far as possible, of course. We want to always play in Europe. This is Eintracht, we want to play in Europe. We are through the group and we’ll do our best to go even further. There’s nothing more to do than do our job and do the best we can do, and then we see how far it will take us. We have confidence and we have the trust in each other that we can win these games. We will do what we can to keep improving but also to keep winning the games that we need."
bundesling.com: Makoto Hasebe is the oldest player in the Bundesliga right now at 37 but still always so reliable. What can you say about him in his 20th year as a professional?
Lindstrom: "He’s just an amazing guy, not just on the pitch but also outside the pitch. How he trains and how professional this guy is, it’s amazing to watch. You also see when he’s on the pitch, he doesn’t look like a guy who’s 37 and played for 20 years. He just looks like a guy who wants to keep playing. It’s crazy that you can go through so many pre-seasons without saying anything. It just shows how amazing this guy is that he’s helping the young players, he’s training hard, he’s working in the gym. He’s just professional and is just a good role model for a lot of players. He’s very important for the dressing room and the club."
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