Christoph Daum’s return to Bundesliga football has grabbed the headlines and suddenly, the full heat of the media microscope is bearing down on him and his new employers, Eintracht Frankfurt.
So how will this famous motor-mouth do? He is known across Germany as a talented coach, beginning his meteoric career in Cologne, then progressing onto a head coaching job at Stuttgart. He was soon back on the Rhine, helping Leverkusen become a fixture as runner-up champions. At these dizzy heights, he almost made it to the top spot as national coach, but lost it all following a sleazy cocaine scandal, fleeing to Turkey and dropping off the radar here.
Unnoticed, however, he slipped back into German football in 2006 when Cologne were dawdling in the second division and, after another interlude in oriental parts, he has now reappeared unexpectedly in Frankfurt. Whilst Eintracht may have won their last game under now-former coach Michael Skibbe, their fear of being relegated got the better of them and their chairman Heribert Bruchhagen. Eintracht Frankfurt needed a new coach who would motivate the team and be able to communicate with them without misunderstandings, and in these two respects, Daum is their man. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Daum is desperate and that, for all he talks about being a “concept coach” and the exciting aspects of training the Eintracht team, this is simply the best he can do with his damaged brand name.
We all know that he’d really like to go back to the top end of the Bundesliga, to the Champions League team, but he just can’t – especially since the only team in this category in the Bundesliga at the moment is Bayern München, and as Klopp, Slomka and Dutt show, coaches with scratches on the paint of their professionality can only ever aspire to the middle-league and then try and bring these teams to the top.
Of course, the advantage of this is that the trainer can rehabilitate his reputation by leading an average team to the top of the league. So can Daum take Frankfurt into the international big leagues? Well, he’s done it before with Stuttgart and Leverkusen; but Frankfurt is another kettle of fish. They are likely candidates for relegation, and if they drop, Daum will drop them – he thinks a lot of himself and would not coach in the second division.
It was an odd twist of fate that his first game at Frankfurt was against Felix Magath coaching Wolfsburg: he is desperately trying to lead them back out of the danger zone after his surprise switch from Schalke a few weeks back.
In any case, after just eleven days, Daum has already progressed with Frankfurt to the extant that it wasn’t just perennial one-man-machine Theofanis Gekas who was able to score a goal, and Alexandar Meier actually took Eintracht into the lead against the Wolves, and after one of their players was sent off, it looked as if Frankfurt should take the match – but Wolfsburg’s Mandzukic equalised just before the final whistle, showing that the Wolves were actually better than Frankfurt, who disappointed despite early promise. Then again, a draw is better than a loss and this has helped Frankfurt distance itself from the relegation zone – and helped Daum to get his foot back in the Bundesliga door.
Results Matchday 28:
Bayern München – Borussia Mönchengladbach 1:0
Werder Bremen – VfB Stuttgart 1:1
Borussia Dortmund – Hannover 96 4:1
1. FSV Mainz 05 – SC Freiburg 1:1
1. FC Kaiserslautern – Bayer Leverkusen 0:1
1899 Hoffenheim – Hamburger SV 0:0
1. FC Köln – 1. FC Nürnberg 1:0
VfL Wolfsburg – Eintracht Frankfurt 1:1
1 Borussia Dortmund 65 P
2 Bayer Leverkusen 58 P
3 Bayern München 51 P
4 Hannover 96 50 P
5 1. FSV Mainz 05 45 P
6 1. FC Nürnberg 42 P
7 Hamburger SV 41 P
8 SC Freiburg 38 P
9 1899 Hoffenheim 37 P
10 1. FC Köln 35 P
11 FC Schalke 04 33 P
12 Werder Bremen 33 P
13 Eintracht Frankfurt 32 P
14 1. FC Kaiserslautern 31 P
15 VfB Stuttgart 30 P
16 VfL Wolfsburg 28 P
17 FC St. Pauli 28 P
18 Borussia Mönchengladbach 23 P