The 2019/20 season poses a mammoth task for Adi Hütter's Eintracht Frankfurt.
The plucky underdogs of the Bundesliga in 2018/19, the Eagles secured a respectable seventh in the league, whilst it took eventual winners Chelsea to knock them out of the UEFA Europa League at the semi-final stage.
But with Luka Jovic off to Spanish giants Real Madrid, and Sébastien Haller getting a Premier League move, Croatian Ante Rebić is the only remaining member of the attacking trident that took Germany by storm last time out. The summer has become a transitional phase for the club, who look ahead to life without their two top scorers.
Transfer Business Overview
The main talking points of Frankfurt's transfer dealings were the colossal fees received for Jovic and Haller; Die Adler received a fee of roughly £90M, not including potential add-ons.
Hütter's task was to reinvest in the squad and prepare for life without their two main forward threats. He began by securing the services of four loanees on a permanent basis: former-PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, centre-half Martin Hinteregger, wing-back Filip Kostic and ex-Borussia Dortmund defensive midfielder Sebastian Rode were all brought back to the club for around £25M.
Keen on improving their central midfield options, the Hessen-based club also picked up Bayer Leverkusen's Dominik Kohr, and BSC Young Boys' Djibril Sow - both for fees in the region of £8M. Erik Durm's arrival on a free transfer from Huddersfield Town rounded off a fairly successful window for Hütter's side.
After Niko Kovac led Frankfurt from mid-table battlers to DFB Cup winners - and consequently Europa League competitors - his departure to Bayern Munich and the resultant appointment of Adi Hütter left many wondering what the future held for the Eagles.
After winning the domestic double in his first, and only, season managing Red Bull Salzburg in his native Austria, Hütter spent three years at Young Boys, delivering the Swiss side their first league title in 32 years. The German Bundesliga was a step up that could've easily proved too much, however, Hütter has fitted in seamlessly to top-flight life and now faces his second season at the helm.
Hütter likes to set up with a three-at-the-back; in front of the centre-backs sit two holding midfielders, advanced wing-backs, and a No. 10 floating in behind two strikers. This allows for several defensive and offensive combinations, allowing his teams to be flexible and fluid in all phases of the game. This style has the potential to deliver once again, and the Frankfurt faithful will be hoping it does just that.
Player to Watch
It's hard to look past Ante Rebić when considering who Eintracht's star player could be this season. The first of the deadly trio to arrive in Frankfurt - and the last remaining - Rebic moved to Italy from his native Croatia at just 19-years-old, when Serie A club Fiorentina paid over £4m for his services.
He won his country's young player of the year award at 20, before several years of underwhelming loan spells across the continent followed. Finally, he found his home though, as, after two temporary years at the Commerzbank Arena, Hütter made the Croat's stay permanent for £2M in 2018.
Able to play wide, behind the strikers or as a striker himself, Rebic - now 25 - is wonderfully well-rounded. His strength, pace and clinical edge allows for this versatility, whilst he isn't bad when carrying the ball for his team either. He will be a key focal point for the Eagles this term, and with experience on his side, he could have a fantastic season.
One for the Future
Eintracht's Evan N'Dicka played the second-most minutes of all Bundesliga centre-backs at the age of 21 or under last season; the Frenchman featuring 23 times during the campaign. Only Ibrahima Konaté of RB Leipzig got more minutes than N'Dicka.
N'Dicka, 19, was brought in for just under £5M from Ligue 2 side Auxerre in the summer of 2018 and has coped well throughout his first season in the top tier of German football. He won three aerials per game, completed three tackles and interceptions, whilst also completing over three long balls per game - this shows just how solid he is across all aspects of the game.
And at 6ft 4in, N'Dicka is a force to be reckoned with. Liverpool were even rumoured to be targeting him this summer as the Champions League winners look to bolster their defensive options. However, he has remained in Germany, and Frankfurt fans can look forward to seeing the youngster develop even more this season.
Despite losing their two most talented forwards, Eintracht find themselves in a seemingly good position. They've brought back some of their top-performing loanees permanently, and have secured some exciting new names.
Hütter knows how he wants his side to play, and the players equally understand his methods too, so I think it could be another very solid season for the Eagles. Although the Europa League spots could make for too much of a push, they won't be far off and will likely be in and around 8th spot.