Goncalo Paciencia (l.) and Dejan Joveljic (r.) look strong enough to carry the burden of getting the goals previously scored by Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller for Eintracht Frankfurt. - © imago images / HMB-Media
Goncalo Paciencia (l.) and Dejan Joveljic (r.) look strong enough to carry the burden of getting the goals previously scored by Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller for Eintracht Frankfurt. - © imago images / HMB-Media
bundesliga

Where will Eintracht Frankfurt's goals come from without Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller?

Eintracht Frankfurt were one of the revelations of the 2018/19 season, recovering from a rocky start under new coach Adi Hütter to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals – and very nearly the final – while threatening a top-four Bundesliga finish, but can they do the same this term without two thirds of their attack?

Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller supplied 17 and 15 Bundesliga goals respectively last season - 53 per cent of the club's total of 60 - as part of an attacking trio together with Ante Rebic that was the envy of the continent.

With Jovic signing for Real Madrid and Haller heading to West Ham United, Hütter's hopes of emulating a spectacular first season at the Commerzbank-Arena suffered an early setback, but he did not grumble. Instead, he set to work unearthing more gems to fill the void.

Watch: Frankfurt's deadly 2018/19 attacking trio

In Portuguese forward Goncalo Paciencia, he already had one he had groomed in the latter stages of last season, while he once again looked to the Balkans to find Dejan Joveljic – close not only in name to the man he is designated to replace.

The 19-year-old Serbian striker was not only born in the same Bijeljina city as Jovic, he also cut his teeth at Red Star Belgrade. Now, he will be expected to add to the eight goals in 17 Serbian league games last season by assuming Jovic's share of the goalscoring duties in Frankfurt this term.

And the early signs that he and Paciencia can recompose Frankfurt's exciting attacking triumvirate have been promising.

Paciencia scored a hat-trick in Frankfurt's first summer workout, a comfortable 14-0 win over Homberg in early July. He came on for Haller at half-time in a symbolic passing of the baton, with the French forward leaving the club just days later.

"It's certainly a big loss for us," admitted Paciencia on the club's website. "He's one of the best forwards I've ever played with and we're bound to miss him, but we've got enough quality in the team to compensate. It may give me more of a chance to prove myself too. Dejan's joined us and we've got Ante, and both are fantastic players who work hard."

Goncalo Paciencia (c.) and Dejan Joveljic (l.) have looked sharp in pre-season for Frankfurt. - imago images / Schüler

Paciencia then partnered Rebic in a 5-1 defeat to Hütter's former club Young Boys, who were already approaching full league action mode, with Joveljic netting the consolation on his debut. Paciencia subsequently struck his fourth goal of pre-season in a 3-1 win over FC Luzern, with Joveljic partnering the Portuguese forward in the second half and very nearly adding a fourth late on.

A 7-0 win over FC Wels then saw another Paciencia hat-trick and a brace from Joveljic, his half-time replacement, before Frankfurt forgot the friendlies and focused on UEFA Europa League qualifying, with Joveljic marking his first competitive appearance for the club by scoring the winner in a 2-1 win at Flora Tallinn.

"He's still young but he's incredibly hungry," said Frankfurt's sporting director Fredi Bobic of the young Serbian. "You can see that in his eyes. He's really looking forward to playing in the Bundesliga and he's looking mature. I'm sure he'll be a quick learner."

A week later, Paciencia struck twice – raising his tally to nine in pre-season – in the return leg against Flora, with Joveljic his strike partner from the outset.

Adi Hütter (l.) already knows that he can rely on Ante Rebic (r.). - imago/Jan Huebner

With the clock ticking down on the start of the season, and another Europa League hurdle – against Liechtenstein minnows FC Vaduz – still to cross, Hütter has yet to unleash all three of his front men together, owing largely to persistent back complaints suffered by Rebic.

However, with all three forwards impressing in turn over the summer, and with Filip Kostic, Mijat Gacinovic and another summer signing Djibril Sow all providing support, Hütter's headache at seeing Jovic and Haller leave has lessened significantly. The Austrian coach appears to have found the ammunition to sustain another successful season at home and abroad.