Frankfurt/Main - For the eleventh time in the Bundesliga's 50-year history, a freshly-promoted club has gone on to make the leap straight into Europe. Eintracht Frankfurt were the last side to pull off the feat, at the end of the 2005/06 campaign, and it is they, once again, who have managed it this season.
Meier on song
The difference seven years ago was that the Eagles sealed their UEFA Cup berth by reaching the final of the DFB Cup, good enough to guarantee them a taste of international action despite going down 1-0 to league champions FC Bayern Munich. The last promoted team to make the European stage by dint of their efforts in the Bundesliga were 1. FC Kaiserslautern back in in 1997/98 - the Red Devils going one better and actually winning the title to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, an unprecedented achievement yet to be matched.
Frankfurt's season may not have been quite that spectacular, but sixth place and a final 51-point final tally is the club's best showing in 19 years - 1993/94 also being the last time they even finished in the top half of the table.
"I'd just like to thank my team and everyone else who's played their part in this. We've had a great season and it's down to a collective effort," said head coach Armin Veh at the end of the campaign; "This caps it all off and for the fans, it's something a bit special. We're really looking forward to these upcoming games - but I'm glad to be going on holiday now, I'm worn out."
Veh has revitalised Eintracht's fortunes deploying a bold, attacking style and few players embody the renaissance better than Alexander Meier. At 30, the rangy all-round attacking talent has been in the form of his life, raising his own best Bundesliga season haul from ten goals to 16.