After a sixth-place finish in 2012/13, the club flirted with relegation for a large chunk of last season, but Schaaf's arrival is expected to herald a new period of calm for the four-time DFB Cup winners. bundesliga.com weighs up the Eagles' prospects for the upcoming campaign...
Makoto Hasebe's no-nonsense approach will bring some much-needed stability to the ranks following the loss of integral trio Sebastian Jung, Sebastian Rode and Pirmin Schwegler. The Japan captain found playing time at a premium owing to injury last term but, now fully fit, he will be looking to rediscover some of the form that helped unfancied VfL Wolfsburg to the title in 2008/09. Indeed, the midfielder's experience could prove key to helping the club through the post-Veh transitional phase.
Discounting Hasebe's relegated former charges 1. FC Nürnberg, only Hertha Berlin found the net as rarely as Frankfurt in 2013/14 (both 40 goals) and with Spanish striker Joselu's loan deal expiring, the onus will now be on Haris Seferovic to hit the ground running following his move from Real Sociedad de Futbol. The 22-year-old has struggled for form at his previous clubs, but will be hoping a debut goal in the DFB Cup is a sign of things to come.
Thomas Schaaf emerges from the sabbatical shadows for the first time after stepping down as SV Werder Bremen coach in May 2013. The 53-year-old created something of a legacy during a 14-year spell at his former club, but now faces the altogether different challenge of turning the Eagles into a Bundesliga stalwart. "I'm convinced Eintracht have everything it takes," he affirmed. "This club has a great stadium and a tremendous following and you can count on the club management."
After soaring unexpectedly high in 2012/13, the Eagles inevitably set themselves up for a fall the following year. A sixth-place finish took the club into Europe, but a memorable ride to the last-32 of the UEFA Europa League took its toll domestically. Takashi Inui (pictured) lost his spark and in March, Veh announced his decision to step down at the end of the campaign. Outright safety was eventually achieved, a 13th-placed finish going down as Veh's final act as coach of the club he steered back into the top flight in May 2012.
"We knew that one or two players would be leaving, but in the end, we've lost more than we expected. Now we've got to see how we cope," Schaaf explained. "What's important for me to start with is that everybody understands that we've all got to pull in the same direction from day one. The quicker we pull together, the more likely it is we will produce good football, which satisfies both ourselves and our fans. That of course means we will be looking to get as many points as we can, as quickly as possible, to get us into a safe position."
Schaaf has a preference for attack-minded football, underlined by the club's acquisition of strike pair Seferovic and Nelson Valdez (pictured). The midfield will also have a new look, with Chelsea FC loanee Lucas Piazon an exciting option behind the forwards, Hasebe a sure starter in the holding role and Aleksandar Ignjovski a further option in front of the back four. Timothy Chandler is essentially a like-for-like replacement for Jung at right-back, while the rest of the side inherited from Veh should just about pick itself.
Eintracht's results during pre-season suggest there is still much work to be done before the new campaign gets under way later this month. Defeats to the likes of SV Waldhof Mannheim, Terek Grozny and UC Sampdoria were overshadowed by a 3-1 win over FC Internazionale. That positive result was followed by a 7-0 hammering of SV Rot-Weiß Walldorf, and then competitive action in the DFB Cup opened by way of a routine 2-0 win over Viktoria 1889 Berlin.