One called unskilled, second a historic flop, yet Kostic and Andre Silva give Lewa and Muller a run for their money

4.4.2021.  
One called unskilled, second a historic flop, yet Kostic and Andre Silva give Lewa and Muller a run for their money

One time German champions and Champions Cup runners up a long time ago, Eintracht Frankfurt hasn't been a major player on the European stage in the 21st century. Yet, in recent years, the Eagles have made quite a splash by fielding a memorable attacking side that reached a Europa League semi-finals. Although the club's results in the league weren't as impressive, with the team finishing eighth of 18 in the 2017/2018 season, one place higher in the following campaign, and ninth in the last season.


Yet, now, after a win over direct continental qualification rivals Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht is heading towards the Champions League and their best finish since the 1992/1993 season. Despite selling most of the key players of that 2018/2019 Europa League run. Ante Rebic went on to Milan, Sebastian Haller moved to West Ham for €50,000,000, and Luka Jovic joined Real Madrid for over 60 million euros.


But the team is looking better than ever while having the same manager at the helm, Adi Hutter. With main standouts consisted of one player involved in the EL charge two seasons ago, and the other a relative newcomer who was dismissed by many before he took up the Frankfurt shirt.


The longer dweller being Filip Kostic, who joined the side in 2018 from a relegated HSV for €6,000,000 despite being Hamburger's most expensive player of the club to this day with a price tag of €14,000,000. Kostic was described as being too one-dimensional in his game, offering little past his endurance on the left-wing.


While the fresher face at the Waldstadion is Andre Silva, a heavy, €38,000,000 Milan flop that significantly hindered the Rossonerri's return to the top of Serie A. The Portuguese striker has now silenced the critics which have dismissed him entirely following his 40 games, 10 goals first season at San Siro. Being only behind Robert Lewandowski currently in the Bundesliga top goalscorer race.


Yet, the flop and the one-trick pony managed to pull Frankfurt into the Champions League, while giving Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski a run for their money in the best Bundesliga partnership bracket.


Individually, they are also right behind the Bayern Munich legends in the statistical categories they are running.


Andre Silva is the second-best goalscorer of the league, surpassing Erling Haaland in a direct duel with his BVB. The Portuguese man is now at 22 goals in the league this season -one more than the wonderboy - alongside five assists made.


Silva stayed at San Siro only for one full season, moving on to a similarly successful loan to Sevilla where he also bagged in almost a one goal per four matches ratio - 40 games played, 11 goals scored. But before the start of the 2019/2020 season, the former Porto man got to Germany on a two-season loan stay with Eintracht which was made permanent this summer in a swap including Ante Rebic.


Obviously, the first season was satisfactory, but only half as so as the current one. With 12 goals in 25 Bundesliga matches, with additional four finishes in other competitions. It would be difficult to suggest Silva was going to be the fourth man running in the European Golden Shoe race. Only behind the greats like Lewandowski, his childhood idol Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi.


For Silva, the reason for such improvement was unavoidable, it was just maturing.


"I think that the secret is, like I say a lot of times, to find myself again because I worked hard these last years. I changed leagues, I changed house, places to live, and it's never easy. I had two new languages that I didn't know, I think at this moment I can say that I found myself and I'm feeling the right way. I'm feeling in my best performance, and I think that's the secret. The most important thing is the mind, and I think that was the key to these moments," said Silva.


The 25-year-old didn't feel like he had the confidence as a youngster and now he's starting to feel more and more like a man. Scoring like one too, finishing 19 goals with his right foot, five with his left, and the 184 centimetres tall striker bagged 10 headers. Mostly coming at the end of Kostic' crosses.


Silva's 22 league goals this season is already the second-best return for any Frankfurt player in their history! On a league level, only eight players have scored as many as Silva's 34 goals in 50 league games.


If Silva’s blossoming was only delayed - as Milan invested heavily in him because he was widely regarded as one of the best striking prospects in Europe - Kostic's was unexpected.


Seen mostly as a Bundesliga foot soldier, dismissed broadly in his native Serbia as well, mostly as he didn't play for one of the two biggest clubs in the country Red Star or Partizan, Kostic is the epitome of hard work. Starting in his hometown club of Radnicki Kragujevac, Kostic graduated to Groningen where he built a solid CV. In 50 games for the Dutch side he got 12 goals and nine assists, earning a call up to Stuttgart. Scoring eight times and getting 14 assists in 63 matches for the struggling side before joining another.


Output at HSV didn't suggest Kostic would be an arguably top wide option on the left side in the Bundesliga. With nine goals and six assists in two more games than at Stuttgart. But at Frankfurt, Kostic became an assist machine. Not an elegant assist-artist, not a creative playmaker, but a force of nature. Chipping away at defences like high tide. Just wave after a wave until the wall cracks.


Sending in various types of crosses at full speed or firing of a grounded shot with his left foot in the opposite end of the goal. But never diverging from the gameplan.


So far, this season, Kostic has bagged 14 assists in the Bundesliga, only Thomas Muller has more at 15. With the Serbian also being the reason for several own goals Frankfurt rivals had to concede, including the opener for the derby against Borussia when Nico Schulz was the unlucky victim.


For the second goal against BVB, Kostic sent out a first-touch high cross that ended up on Silva's head. He is leading the Bundesliga in crosses from open play with 154, while Stuttgart's Borna Sosa is second with a number smaller by a third at 106. While Kostic is also seventh in sprints made in the league, with 702! The second-placed Silas Wamangituka is at 741, for comparisons.


While Kostic has been one of the more sound constants of Eintracht's resurgence, getting 26 goals and 45 assists in the 120 games for the club. He has particularly flourished upon the return of his compatriot buddy Luka Jovic.


The main target of his crosses in the mentioned Europa League semifinals season has returned in January of 2021 on a loan from Real where he struggled. Since then, Kostic bagged 13 assists and scored four goals in 12 Bundesliga matches! Arguably, he is the most in-form player in Europe in this year when looking at those stats.


With the manager Hutter seeing that even before the stats rose up so astronomically.


"It's not really easy reaching the level Kostic is now at. He once again found form, which is connected with the return of Luka Jovic. The day when Luka arrived from Madrid, Filip changed. He is once again playing on a high level."


Jovic, who did score three goals and made one assist in the 509 minutes spent on the pitch back for Eintracht, mentioned on the remaining bond between him and Kostic. After the band of them two, Rebic, and another Serbian Mijat Gacinovic has broken up in the transfer market.


"Yeah, that's the only Yugo-clique that remains. Filip and I get on brilliantly, on and off the pitch. We get a feel on the pitch for how we'll set up the next play and it's very important for me that he's here. I think it holds true for him too."


While Jovic didn't excel in the stats department since arriving, Hutter did start him in the most important match of the season against BVB, next to Silva. With the Serbian striker carrying out the ball for the second goal, under heavy pressure before Kostic's cross and Silva's jump.


But the bulk of the season has been carried by Kostic and Silva. No player has more assists for another player in the Bundesliga than the 28-year-old Serbian for the Portuguese - 7. Same as which Muller for the world's best player Lewandowski. If not counting the penalties made over a player as assists, like Transfmarkt does.


When looking at total goal involvements on the mentioned website, only the same duo has a better performance in the German top division. The Bayern's partnership bagged 66 goal involvements, while Kostic and Silva are even in front of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, who are together valued at around €300,000,000. But the "talentless" underdog and the "failed" prospect have bagged 45 goal involvements, two more than Borussia's duo.


With Eintracht Frankfurt’s sporting director Fredi Bobic reportedly leaving for Hertha Berlin’s ambitious project, and both Kostic and Silva having short-term contracts until 2023, the dynamic duo might not harras Bundesliga defenders for much longer. But they owe it to themselves and the special partnership to show it off in the Champions League next season. The underdogs paid their dues, they've earned it.



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Comments

  • 1
    AsianBesTrader 25.4.2021. 9:11:41
    kostic was long famous for his running but now he looks like a top wingback

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