Say cheese! Kevin-Prince Boateng poses for the camera after giving Frankfurt a 1-0 lead against Gladbach. - © imago / Eibner
Say cheese! Kevin-Prince Boateng poses for the camera after giving Frankfurt a 1-0 lead against Gladbach. - © imago / Eibner
Bundesliga

Kevin-Prince Boateng eyeing crowning glory with high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt

His ascendancy to the throne is almost complete: from Prince Boateng to King Kevin, Eintracht Frankfurt's powerful performer is ruling the waves on the River Main as the Eagles soar to ever greater heights in this season's Bundesliga.

The much-travelled midfielder was on target for the fourth time in Germany's top division this season during Friday night's Matchday 20 curtain-raiser against Borussia Mönchengladbach. A close-range finish from the 30-year-old set the hosts on their way to a ninth win of the campaign, with Luka Jovic adding a late second to ensure Eintracht's best start to a RückrundeRückrunde for 28 years.

Watch: Kevin-Prince Boateng reacts to Die Adler's latest win!

"We fight a lot - we always give 100 per cent - and that's what's most important," Boateng told bundesliga.com after his side's 2-0 success, a result that lifted them into the top four. "We have three or four amazing players in the team who can change a game. The perfect thing is the mix we have," the former Ghana international added.

Thrown into the Eintracht mix last summer - Boateng's ninth club in a varied career to date - the former Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke player has excelled under Niko Kovac, the coach he describes as "a 24-hour-a-day professional," and a highly "demanding" tactician.

"[Niko] brings me to a level that I wouldn't have believed possible at 30," the ex-AC Milan and Genoa man told Sport1. "He keeps talking to us with intensity, saying we should not let up in our fitness levels or our winning mentality," Boateng - whose time at Hertha coincided with Kovac's at the capital club between 2003 and 2006 - continued. "In no moment can we rest easy; [the coach] wants us to go to our limits. It's good to have someone pushing me like that at my age."

Watch: Boateng goes 60 seconds under pressure!

Eintracht's capture of Boateng on a three-year deal in August may have seemed a risk to some, yet known for his incredible versatility and ability to score spectacular goals, the player seemed well-placed to deliver, under the right circumstances.

"It was Niko Kovac's plan from the beginning that I play in various positions in order to help the team and I always try to adapt to every role as best as I can," he explained. "If I'm playing up front, I want to score goals; if I'm operating in a defensive midfield position, I want to seek out good passing options. Whatever position I'm in, I go hell for leather."

Describing the current atmosphere within the Eintracht squad as "fantastic," Boateng is beginning to feel at home again after spells in England, Italy and Spain. "The [move to Frankfurt] has been a great fit for me and I've never regretted it," he told Eintracht's official website. "It's been a good change in my private life too, as I'm now closer to my family, which is also very positive."

Another hugely positive endeavour has been the player's outspoken stance against racism. Boateng's vociferous criticism and on-field protestations have seen him become a leading figure in attempts to stamp out an issue that must be eradicated from football and society.

“It’s a very real problem that we face on a daily basis. Talking about it for a couple of days then forgetting all about it is simply unacceptable," the Eintracht star said. "We need to form a united front against racism. We need to show solidarity with one another and the beautiful game can help us do just that.” A United Nations ambassador for anti-racism, Boateng described giving a speech in the role in Geneva as, "one of the proudest moments of my life." 

He's also bringing plenty of pride back to Eintracht fans who witnessed their side struggle for consistency in the second half of last season, a campaign they ended in 11th position. "My wish for [2017/18] is that we manage to be more consistent; that's my goal with the club, qualifying for [Europe] is secondary," he said. "I want to improve things, to show something of myself."

It is a side that is endearing him not just to fans of his club, but across Germany too. Boateng had endured a slightly fraught relationship with some following an infamous English FA Cup final tackle on Michael Ballack that saw the Germany international miss the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Yet the man who twice lined out against his brother - Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng - in two FIFA World Cups is now firmly focused on helping Eintracht finish the second-half of the season continuing to perform to peak levels. "I want to create memories here because Eintracht is a really great club," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"It also has a lot to do with the city. When I walk the streets, I see people who are all positive. The whole city is behind the team, behind this multicultural squad. Giving something back to the city and the fans, to hold a trophy in the near future, that's the vision I have."

Indeed, should Boateng be involved in the club winning its first piece of silverware in 20 years, a famous sitcom soundtrack could easily be reworded in his honour: "Looked at my kingdom I was finally there, to sit on my throne as Kevin-Prince of Die Adler."

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