Manuel Veth –
Flora Tallinn vs Frankfurt – Thursday, July 25, 18:00BST/19:00CEST – A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia
It is a trip into the unknown for Eintracht Frankfurt. Last year’s Europa League semifinalist have never before played a competitive match in Estonia. But it is not just the trip that constitutes a trip into the unknown.
Just three weeks into the 2019/20 preparation Frankfurt are still looking to complete their squad. Star strikers Luka Jović (to Real Madrid) and Sébastien Haller (to West Ham) have left the club. Furthermore, sporting director Fredi Bobić is still working on bringing back last year’s loanees Kevin Trapp, Martin Hinteregger and Sebastian Rode.
Furthermore, new signing Djibril Sow is recovering from a preseason injury. As a result, head coach Adi Hütter hopes that players that usually do not get a lot of playing time are going to step forward. One such player is Daichi Kamada, who was excellent in Belgium. “He made a big step forward in his development and is one of the winners of the preseason,” Hütter said this week.
While Eintracht Frankfurt have been working on their preseason preparations, Flora Tallinn are in the middle of Estonia’s regular season. The Premium Liiga runs on the old Soviet match calendar from March to November, and the 11-times Estonian champions have already played 20 league games, scoring 61 goals (the second most) and conceding just 14 (the least).
A giant in Estonia Flora Tallinn are a minnow in Europe. Flora have never managed to get past the second round of Europa League qualifying. In fact, usually the first round is as far as the club gets, but this year Flora surprisingly eliminated Serbia’s vice-champions Radnicki Nis in two games (2-0, 2-2).
Reaching the third round of Europa League qualifying would be a major achievement for the Green and Whites. But Eintracht Frankfurt, even in the middle of their Bundesliga preparation and an incomplete squad, should have enough to get past the Estonians.
Flora Tallinn vs Frankfurt – Players to look out for:
Erik Sorga #50 – Flora Tallinn
Erik Sorga is Flora Tallinn’s top goalscorer. The striker has scored 20 goals in 20 games this season but was left off the scoreboard in Flora’s 3-0 victory over Maardu Linnamesskond. It was the first time since June 18 that the striker failed to score in a league match. Only 176cm tall Sorga is a typical box player with an unbelievable goal-getter instinct.
Gonçalo Paciência #39 – Eintracht Frankfurt
With Haller and Jović, the time has come for Paciência to step forward. The Portuguese striker was signed one summer ago but then suffered a meniscus injury that kept him out of 16 Bundesliga games. Towards the end of last season, however, the 24-year-old was finally able to show why Fredi Bobić had signed the striker. Three goals in 11 Bundesliga games are a promise for this season in which the Portuguese striker wants to fill the void left by last season’s stars.
Flora Tallinn vs Frankfurt – Match Stats
- This is the first meeting between the two sides.
- Flora Tallinn have never faced a team from Germany.
- Eintracht Frankfurt have never faced a team from Estonia in a competitive fixture before.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Flora Tallinn vs Frankfurt – 0-2
Flora Tallinn vs Frankfurt – Lineups
Aland – Järveleid, Pürg, Kuusk, Kams – Ainsalu, Poom – Sinyavskiy, Vassiljev, Liivak – Sorga
Head Coach: Jürgen Henn
Rönnow – N’Dicka, Hasebe, Abraham – Kostić, Kohr, Torró, da Costa – Kamada – Rebić, Paciência
Head Coach: Adi Hütter
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.