Germany: Bundesliga
3 - 1
(0 - 1)
F. Chaïbi (55), H. Ekitike (61), O. Marmoush (90)
R. Vargas (13)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Toppmöller provides personnel updates, expresses desire to win in "Bernd's honor"

Eintracht Frankfurt trainer Dino Toppmöller at least had some positive personnel news to convey ahead of Friday's home match against Augsburg at his Thursday presser. 

Eintracht Frankfurt enter the 2023/24 Round 30 Bundesliga curtain-raiser with nothing short of their place in Europe at stake. The Fledging SGE, fully aware of the brutal remaining schedule, must fend off an FC Augsburg side directly applying pressure from below. With an away win on Friday night, Jess Thorup's Fuggerstâdter can draw level on points with Dino Toppmöller's Eintracht. 

With the notable exception of a 3-1 win over visiting TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on match-day 25, Eintracht have not been particularly compelling at home in the current calendar year. Eintracht have only won one of their other six home fixtures this year. Toppmöller made clear at his Thursday presser that he - like skipper Kevin Trapp - hoped the crowd would play a role. 

"This game is less about tactics and more about bringing emotion, passion, and intensity to the pitch," Toppmöller said, "We want to see that clearly from the start. That's the basic cornerstone. It's not about developing players at this stage of the season."

When it comes to personnel choices, Toppmöller did have plenty of good news to report. Midfield linchpin Ellyes Skhiri may be fit enough to rejoin the starting XI and potentially revive his highly successful partnership with young Hugo Larsson. Mario Götze (pink eye) and Dina Ebimbe (suspension) also return to give Toppmöller a pair of qualified eights. 

The SGE trainer noted (again) that he felt French striker Hugo Ekitiké might be available to start, potentially moving slumping Egyptian striker Omar Marmoush back to a more promising place on the left flank. Toppmöller has problems with his fullbacks, but spoke of "healthy competition" between the quartet of Niels Nkounkou, Philipp Max, Nmadi Collins, and Aurelio Buta. 

Though stirring pre-match tributes to the retiring Peter Fischer didn't help Eintracht out during a very limp home win against Mainz on match-day 19, Toppmöller expressed the hope that planned pre-match commemorations for recently passed club icon Bernd Hölzenbein might help put the team and crowd in the proper frame of mind. 

"The death of Bernd Hölzenbein has shaken the entire Eintracht family," Toppmöller said, "He was a special person and a special player. We absolutely want to win in Bernd's honor." 

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