Madrid's Jovic absolutely world class, says Eintracht boss Hutter

By Sports Desk January 19, 2021

Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Adi Hutter hailed the "greatness" of Luka Jovic following his stunning start to life back in the Bundesliga.

Jovic scored two goals in his return for Eintracht last week after re-joining the German club on loan until the end of the season, having endured a difficult period at LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

The Serbia international only scored twice in 32 appearances under Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in the Spanish capital, where he arrived for €60million in 2019.

But Jovic came off the bench and scored twice in 28 minutes as Eintracht defeated Schalke 3-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Jovic matched his Madrid tally in the stunning cameo for Eintracht, where the 23-year-old netted 27 goals in 2018-19 before making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Previewing Wednesday's showdown with Freiburg, Hutter discussed Jovic and his partnership with Eintracht star Andre Silva.

"Strikers are always a bit egotistical, but when it is about the team or Eintracht Frankfurt, everyone puts their ego aside," Hutter told reporters.

"Luka [Jovic] does that sovereignly. When you bring back someone who had his best time here and scored 27 goals in a year, then gets loaned out and scores two goals in 32 games, and then comes back and scores two goals in about 25 minutes, it's logical that the attention is more on that than on Andre Silva's 12th goal of the season.

"But when you hear Luka's statements that it is an honour for him to play in a team with Andre, it shows the greatness and character of Luka and it shows the respect he has for Andre Silva. I have spoken to Andre before and he said that competition is very important for him and that quality in the team is important. That doesn't bother him at all.

"I also can't imagine that Andre Silva, who has previously played for Milan and Sevilla, can't handle competition. I think he has also seen that Luka is another striker with whom he can harmonise.

"As always, I'm keeping a low profile. He [Luka Jovic] has shown in this short season that he is an absolute world-class striker with a high calibre. We'll leave it open as to whether he'll play from the start [against Freiburg]."

Silva's goal to open the scoring against Schalke was his 12th of the season, taking him level with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland – only Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (21) has more in 2020-21.

Eintracht – eighth in the standings – are the only team to win all three of their Bundesliga games in 2021 and have now won four on the bounce in the league for the first time since early 2019.

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    The Eagles had to come from a goal down after Joe Aribo's 57th minute opener, equalising through Rafael Borre to force extra-time before winning 5-4 in the penalty shootout.

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    "I don’t have any words for that," Trapp said post-match. "I've tried to find them but it's impossible. We can present the trophy tomorrow in Frankfurt after 42 years. This is the best day of my career, truly. I'm so proud of our team.

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    Trapp was a critical figure for Eintracht at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, spectacularly denying Ryan Kent from close range in the 118th minute, before then denying Aaron Ramsey to set up Borre's deciding penalty in the shootout.

    The Kent save was palpably important with penalties looming, denying Rangers from scoring in what was their best chance of the match despite Aribo's opening goal.

    Trapp believes he was fortunate to make that save, but it gave him the necessary psychological boost coming into the penalty shootout.

    After Eintracht lost to Chelsea on penalties in the 2018-19 semi-final, he was confident they would not suffer from the spot again.

    "It would have been awful to concede in that situation but that’s why I'm there, to help team when they need," Trapp said. "I try that, to make myself as big as possible, but I was lucky. He could’ve shot higher, but that's all I can do.

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    Glasner was full of praise for his side, who battled from a goal down following Joe Aribo's 57th minute opener for Rangers to equalise via Rafael Borre and force extra-time at 1-1, before claiming a 5-4 penalty shootout win.

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    "No, there is next level, it's impossible," Glasner said post-match. "I have to say a bit more about that. This year started difficult, but the players kept believing in themselves, what we told them, what we trained.

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    With scores locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Van Bronckhorst brought the two on in the 117th minute with penalties in mind. Ramsey was the only player to not convert his penalty, Kevin Trapp saving with his feet at 3-3, before Rafael Borre followed Roofe's spot-kick to secure a 5-4 shootout win for Eintracht.

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    Rangers created sporadic opportunities, with Joe Aribo's 57th minute opener at the top of the penalty area one of their only four shots in the box.

    The game petered after Borre's equaliser in the 69th, but Ryan Kent had the best chance to win the match in extra-time, only to be denied by Trapp from close range under pressure from Kristijan Jakic.

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    "Especially in those minutes near the end of the game, it's decisive," he said. "It's a big chance for us, but Ryan did everything he can to score the goal. In the end, you know when you have chances you have to take them."

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