Twenty-seven-year-old attacker Amin Younes truly feels at home back in the Bundesrepublik. Riding high after his third league goal of the season, the former German national team player radiantly gushed about his new role with Germany's Adler.
The scenes this past weekend touched many a German football fan's heart. Commemorating the one-year-anniversary of the horrific domestic terror attack in Hanau, Eintracht Frankfurt sported warm-up jerseys memorializing the victims when taking the field at Deutsche Bank Park. Hanau lies a few kilometers north of Germany's commercial capital. The local football club participated in a "say their names" initiative to ensure that the casualties would not serve as mere statistics.
In the 31st minute of the match against FC Bayern München, Younes received a nice cutback from fellow ten Daichi Kamada and banged home a nice curler from distance. What proved to be the game-winning goal was well worth seeing. Following the tally, Younes ran to the sideline to grab one of the aforementioned warm-up jerseys in an impromptu celebration. Of Lebanese descent himself, Younes has had his own first-hand experiences with the type of xenophobia that drove the attack.
By all accounts, it has been a most successful return top the Bundesliga for the SSC Neapel man. Five years after leaving Borussia Mönchengladbach for greener pastures, the SGE brought him back to the country after frustratingly unsuccessful stints in the Erdevisie and Serie A. Younes last featured for the German national team in the 2017 Confederations Cup. Nationalmannschaft trainer Joachim Löw, in the stands to scout the weekend's big match, had some reverent praise for his former player.
"Praise and recognition are always nice, especially from such personalities," Younes told Germany's Sky Broadcasting outfit later in the week, "but I'm also in the here and now to focus on the daily work."
Younes reserved most of the credit for his turnaround for the chance the club took on him. The SGE brought him in on a long-term loan that runs through the 2021/22 season. Moreover, head-coach Adi Hütter stuck with him through a lingering Achilles tendon injury that precluded him from finding a regular role in the starting XI straight away.
"I owe a lot to the people here," he emphasized, "I came to Frankfurt and everyone believed in me. I was given the sense that 'we're taking this step-by-step now. We're looking to get you back to a match fitness; to a good-level'."
Younes' role in Hütter's current system remains a very important one. He and Daichi Kamada form a tight double-ten tandem not far behind lead-striker André Silva. All three players have benefitted immensely from the arrangement. What was once something of a placeholder set-up after the club sold Bas Dost has become one of the league's most potent permanent fixtures.
"This is fun and gives me huge confidence," Younes said of the Eintracht tactical construct, "Accordingly, I wish to repay that. I feel like I'm in the best shape of my career."