• Two successive victories for Frankfurt lifts them within touching distance of safety.
  • Darmstadt not yet safe either - the Lilies are now just two points ahead of the Eagles.
  • The two cities are only 30 kilometres apart.

Eintracht Frankfurt boosted their hopes of escaping relegation with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory away to regional neighbours and fellow strugglers SV Darmstadt 98.

SV Darmstadt 98 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Goals: 1-0 Vrancic (12'), 1-1 Hasebe (56'), 1-2 Aigner (83')

There was a predictably frenetic opening at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor given that this was a local derby with both teams fighting against relegation, and thundering tackles characterised the opening exchanges. Darmstadt drew first blood, however, when Mario Vrancic slotted in from Marcel Heller's excellent cut-back. The hosts had the better chances to add to the scoreline in the first half, and Sandro Wagner even had a penalty saved by Lukas Hradecky after Luca Caldirola had been fouled inside the box.

Frankfurt needed to be braver in the second period and they were. Niko Kovac's men finally began troubling the home defence with some increasingly incisive moves and the two goals they had ruled out for offside were indicative of that improvement. The Eagles got the equaliser their efforts deserved when Makoto Hasebe's fierce drive from 25 yards was deflected in. There was more to come in the closing stages when Stefan Aigner prodded in Szabolcs Huszti's right-wing free-kick at the back post to hand Frankfurt a dramatic victory and three crucial points.

Mario Vrancic (c.) put the hosts ahead with this cool finish early on from Marcel Heller's pass. © imago / Jan Huebner

Man of the match

Aigner was a lively presence after his introduction at half-time and his pace and movement unsettled what had hitherto been a solid Darmstadt defence. The 28-year-old also netted the decisive winner which could prove crucial come the end of the season.

Talking point

This was Frankfurt's second successive victory, and it was another win after going behind. While that points to a leaky backline, it is also indicative of the team's fighting spirit under new coach Kovac and they now have survival in their own hands.

Match stats

  • Marco Fabian returned to the Frankfurt starting line-up for the first time since Matchday 26.
  • Vrancic opened the scoring with the first shot of the match.
  • Hradecky saved a penalty in the Bundesliga for the first time ever.
  • Hasebe scored a Bundesliga goal for the first time in almost three years.

Makoto Hasebe helped the Eagles on the road of victory with a powerful drive to equalise in the second half. © gettyimages / Alex Grimm/Bongarts


Darmstadt: Mathenia – Jungwirth, Sulu (c), Rajkovic (Holland 13'), Caldirola – Heller, Niemeyer, Gondorf, Rausch (Platte 86') – Vrancic (Kempe 71'), Wagner

Coach: Dirk Schuster

Frankfurt: Hradecky – Regäsel, Abraham, Russ (c), Oczipka – Hasebe, Huszti – Gacinovic (Aigner 46'), Fabian (Castaignos 77'), Ben-Hatira (Zambrano 87') – Seferovic

Coach: Niko Kovac