Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Bayern Munich: Younes the inspiration as champions' grip on top spot is loosened

By Sports Desk February 20, 2021

Bayern Munich's stranglehold on top spot in the Bundesliga has been loosened after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at Amin Younes-inspired Eintracht Frankfurt, who were without top-scorer Andre Silva.

It was Bayern's first visit to Frankfurt since the 5-1 defeat in November 2019 that cost Niko Kovac his job, and while this defeat is unlikely to have similar ramifications for Hansi Flick, it was a similarly frustrating day for the champions.

Bayern came into the game having picked up a league-high 19 points from losing positions this term and they were once again forced into such a position after Kamada's well-worked opener and Younes' gorgeous second left them 2-0 down at the interval.

Flick's men dominated the second half after Robert Lewandowski pulled one back in the 53rd minute but they failed to add to that, meaning RB Leipzig can close to within two points of the leaders with a win at Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

An early strain suffered by one of the officials and a subsequent lengthy delay did little to upset Eintracht's flow and they deservedly went ahead in the 12th minute, Filip Kostic latching on to Younes' clever reverse ball in behind Leroy Sane and teeing up Kamada for an easy finish.

Younes then shot agonisingly wide from inside his own half with Manuel Neuer stranded soon after, though Bayern had no such fortune just past the half-hour mark, the Napoli-owned midfielder cutting in off the left and arrowing a sensational strike into the top-far corner.

Bayern finished the half better but a goal still eluded them, with Kevin Trapp making necessary saves to deny Kingsley Coman and Lewandowski, before Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting's late flick just missed the post.

The visitors looked sharper at the start of the second half and soon got themselves a lifeline, Lewandowski turning in from close range after Sane left the Eintracht defence in knots.

That pattern of Bayern dominance continued for much of the second half, with Leon Goretzka heading just off target, Coman forcing Trapp into action with a looping volley and the Frenchman also somehow missing the target a few yards out.

Eintracht might have got a third on the break were it not for Neuer saving brilliantly from Kostic, though it mattered not for the hosts, who held on to the win that keeps them level with third-placed Wolfsburg.

Related items

  • Koeman tired of relentless speculation over Barca future - 'It's a little bit strange' Koeman tired of relentless speculation over Barca future - 'It's a little bit strange'

    A bemused Ronald Koeman has described the constant speculation over his future as Barcelona head coach as "a little bit strange". 

    It has been a tumultuous debut season for the former Netherlands boss, who arrived at Camp Nou on a two-year contract in August. 

    First up, he had to manage the fallout from Lionel Messi's ultimately unsuccessful transfer request ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. 

    A failure to get past the last-16 stage in the Champions League was a major disappointment, but a superb recent run in LaLiga has put them into title contention. 

    They did suffer a first defeat since early December against Real Madrid in El Clasico last weekend, but they are just two points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid with eight games remaining. 

    Up next is Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday and, speaking at a pre-match media conference, a clearly exasperated Koeman did not hold back when asked if failure to secure the trophy would result in his dismissal. 

    "If you would like to hear my opinion about this, it's a little bit strange that I need to answer questions like this," he told reporters. 

    "We had a run of 19 games without losing, we lose one match and I need to talk about my future. 

    "Maybe I need to accept this, but I don't agree. You have to do your job and talk to people in the club. I have one more year of my contract. 

    "I know before the game what will happen if we win and if we don't win. I have to accept it. I took this job as a coach and I know there's a big pressure and I can handle that. Sometimes it's a little bit strange."

    Despite speculation that Koeman may not start next season as Barca boss, the club's new president Joan Laporta did offer public support to Koeman over his future after his victory in last month's election. 

    Asked if he needs Laporta's backing again following the defeat to Madrid, Koeman said: "I don't need this. We have spoken and he has shown me his confidence.

    "If someone writes that the coach's future is at risk, the president doesn't have to respond to that by showing confidence.

    "I'm the first to know what Laporta thinks. At this club you need to win trophies, and despite the changes and the economic situation at the club, we're here at a final and we want to win it; speculation isn't important."

    This will be the fourth meeting between the sides this season, with Barca winning both LaLiga clashes and Athletic securing a dramatic 3-2 triumph in the Supercopa de Espana in January. 

  • Fakhar and Nawaz help Pakistan fend off South Africa for series triumph Fakhar and Nawaz help Pakistan fend off South Africa for series triumph

    Pakistan sealed a 3-1 triumph over South Africa in their Twenty20 series despite almost matching a wretched batting collapse by the hosts in the Centurion finale.

    The Proteas slumped from 109-2 to 144 all out amid a display of artless batsmanship to set Pakistan just a modest victory target, yet the chasing side almost threw away the match with an implosion of their own.

    Eventually they won by three wickets with one ball to spare, Fakhar Zaman smashing 60 from 34 balls and Mohammad Nawaz clinching victory with a six when just two runs were required.

    Babar Azam's century had spurred Pakistan to a nine-wicket win in the third game of this four-match series, but where that contest, also at Centurion, was a run-fest, with both teams topping 200, this time South Africa were masters of their own downfall.

    Aiden Markram came into the match behind three successive T20 fifties, attempting to be only the third player, after Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle, to make four in a row.

    He was the first batsman to be dismissed, however, lbw to Nawaz, and although Janneman Malan (33) and Rassie van der Dussen (52) then put on 57 for the second wicket, there was little other resistance to be found among the South Africa batsmen.

    Faheem Ashraf tormented the top order for figures of 3-17 in four overs, while Hasan Ali rebounded well from being carted for 29 in his opening two overs, finishing with 3-40.

    In Pakistan's reply, Fakhar came to the crease after Mohammad Rizwan slumped to a first-over stumping, and the left-hander soon set about the home attack, crunching five fours and four sixes before being caught as a wild swipe at Lizaad Williams sent the ball skywards.

    His departure triggered the second heavy flurry of wickets in the match, Pakistan sliding from 92-1 to 129-7, needing someone to find some composure.

    Nawaz was that man, first punishing Sisanda Magala for delivering two consecutive no-balls in the penultimate over, flogging his second free hit over the ropes. In a nervy final over, Nawaz (25 not out) picked off Williams from the fifth ball, pulling square over the boundary for the winning runs.

    Chaos reigns

    A contest littered with chaotic cricket was perhaps best summed up by the first delivery of the ninth over in Pakistan's reply. Tabraiz Shamsi's delivery was short, sat up and called for severe punishment. Even so, Fakhar looked sure to miss out on a boundary as George Linde moved to sweep up inside the boundary. Yet Linde inexplicably failed to get his body in the way of the ball. Really rather poor all round.

    Hasan heroic

    While Faheem and Haris Rauf (2-18) kept it supremely tight throughout their spells, the same could not be said for Hasan, who came in for some brutal early treatment. It takes sporting courage and skill to rebound from two horror overs, and he demonstrated such attributes by taking three wickets in his next two sets of six, including that of Magala from his final delivery.

  • Rashford a doubt for Man Utd's clash with Burnley, confirms Solskjaer Rashford a doubt for Man Utd's clash with Burnley, confirms Solskjaer

    Marcus Rashford is a doubt for Manchester United's Premier League clash with Burnley on Sunday, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

    The England international did not make it off the substitutes' bench during United's 2-0 win over Granada on Thursday, a result which sealed a 4-0 aggregate victory to book a Europa League semi-final against Roma.

    Rashford – who is suffering from an ongoing foot injury – took his tally to 20 for the season in the first leg, making him the first United player to hit double figures in consecutive campaigns since Wayne Rooney 11 years ago.

    The 23-year-old has missed just three games for United this season and Solskajer said he will give Rashford as long as he needs to prove his fitness. 

    "It's a big bonus that he didn't have to put any pressure on his foot [against Granada]," Solskjaer told a media conference. "I have got to hope he can be available and not make it worse. That is the decision I have got to make, so fingers crossed.

    "He wasn't due to be on the bench really. He didn't train yesterday [Wednesday] but, just in case, he put his hand up and said 'if needed, I could do a job'. 

    "So, it is a decision I have got to make on Sunday morning. But he is important for us. It is a difficult one. You have to go by how Marcus feels in a couple of days."

    United host Burnley at Old Trafford looking to win five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since they won their first six under Solskjaer's leadership in January 2019. 

    While another three points would take them another step closer to sealing a top-four finish, it is unlikely to help them rein in leaders Manchester City, who have an 11-point lead over their neighbours, having played a game more. 

    Solskjaer is not prepared to write off United's title chances just yet, but he does concede it seems improbable that City will drop enough points to allow them back into the race. 

    "Of course we'll never give up," he said. "Manchester United will never, ever give up. This club has had too many setbacks and too many great comebacks to have it in our DNA. 

    "Is it realistic? No, probably not. When you have a team that is so consistent as Manchester City have been, you don't expect them to lose three games of the last six. 

    "As long as we do our job, we want to finish the season strong and go one game at a time."

    With a seven-point lead over Leicester City, United look well placed to improve on their third-placed finish last season. 

    While Solskjaer is pleased with his side's progress this term, he will not be satisfied until they have won the Premier League title for the first time since Alex Ferguson's last season in charge in 2012-13. 

    "You've got to make progress, step by step, that's the reality," he explained. "If we can manage second place and keep winning and get second, if Man City win all games and we win ours, you want to finish strongly. 

    "Third last year, second this, close to a trophy. It's progress. It's not the end game; the end game is winning the league. But we are not in the era of Sir Alex and we've had a transformation period since he left.

    "But it's progress, step by step, and if we do that well enough, that is when you get trophies and league titles which, of course, is our ambition."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.