Next opponents: Frankfurt on the right track

Several experts have accused Eintracht coach Michael Skibbe of negativity and even over ambition, though they would be far wide of the mark. Skibbe is thinking long-term. He has plenty he wants to achieve with the club, and mediocrity is not an option.

"I want to stay with Eintract for a long time," said Skibbe recently. Frankfurt chairman Heribert Bruchhagen has offere his full support: "I think everyone knows that at this point I am looking for continuity," he said. "I'll be doing everything to ensure Michael Skibbe remains coach of Frankfurt for as long as possible." In the past, both Bruchhagen and Skibbe had had their differences, in particular Skibbe's rather brash way of demanding new players. The coach bemoaned the club's lack of willingness to take a risk and indicated the club would be stuck in the lower reaches of the table if they were unwilling to invest in the squad. Indeed, the fact that Frankfurt were challenging for a European spot for so long this season must have come as a surprise to the 44-year-old tactician.

Still, Skibbe is probably right when he says that this season's exploits will be hard to top next season what with the club's financial situation. According to him, the goal for next season has to be "preserving the level that we're at now. One or two players still need to fulfil their potential". Potential is certainly something the Eagles have in abundance, though arguably not enough to trouble the top sides over the course of a season. The signing of Halil Altintop has certainly been a positive step.The 28-year-old has served up some fine performances in recent weeks. If Martin Fenin can overcome his injury troubles then Skibbe will have yet another quality option in attack. And then of course there is Ioannis Amanatidis, the kind grafter Skibbe could really do with at this late stage in the season.

Eintracht have tended to focus on these sorts of players in the transfer market of late, with battlers Pirmin Schwegler, Maik Franz and Selim Teber all arriving. Caio of course added some creativity to the side, though his inconsistency has plagued what promised to be a great season for the Brazilian. Skibbe's first job this summer, however, will be finding a quality replacement for Christoph Spycher at left-back. The Swiss defender is heading back to his homeland with Young Boys Bern despite the offer of a year's extension at the Commerzbank Arena. Nonetheless, it looks as though Skibbe an Bruchhagen are well on their way to further establishing Frankfurt as a Bundesliga force next season.

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