Frankfurt - Returning to the relative monotony of mid-season preparations in the wintry conditions on home soil having spent eight sun-kissed days in Abu Dhabi is never easy, as Eintracht Frankfurt will attest to.
Late scare for captain Trapp
“We’re a little upset, we would have loved to stay there,” joked head coach Thomas Schaaf. With time ticking down until the Bundesliga’s restart and leading scorer Alexander Meier
, however, the Eagles remain bullish regarding their chances of maintaining the performance levels that have thus far left them just four points adrift of a European qualification spot.
While they may be missing breaking a sweat in 20-plus degree heat and cooling off in the hotel pool, it appears the trip to the Middle East has indeed done Eintracht a world of good as they prepare themselves for the rigours of the business end of the 2014/15 campaign. “We’re coming home with a great feeling,” said Schaaf upon landing in Frankfurt on Wednesday morning. That feel-good factor almost suffered a knock in the final training session in Abu Dhabi, as No1 goakeeper
had to cut short after only recently returning to first-team affairs following an three-and-a-half-month spell on side lines with an ankle injury. “Kevin experienced pain in his right groin,” said sporting director Bruno Hübner. “But after our initial assessment we can give the all-clear - it doesn’t look like a serious injury.”
Focus on tactics
Good news for the Eagles, who took up the mantle of the Bundesliga’s entertainers during an action-packed
with their games boasting a league best 68 goals, 34 scored and 34 conceded. While Trapp’s return will likely go a long way to helping the side improve defensively, Schaaf still claimed that “there will be no major changes” in regards to his side’s unbridled attacking displays. During their stay in the Persian Gulf the focus was “working on tactical matters”, revealed left-back
. “We studied and rehearsed plenty of in-game movements.” While that may not have necessarily been abundantly evident in their two friendlies - a 3-2 loss to Hamburger SV and a 3-1 win over Al Ain FC - mid-season preparations aim at gearing up for the real thing, which, for the Eagles, presents itself in the form of a Bundesliga trip to SC Freiburg on 31 January.