Timothy Chandler: A Man Reborn

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 07: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Timothy Chandler of Eintracht Frankfurt during the Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Augsburg at Commerzbank-Arena on February 7, 2020 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Timothy Chandler has discovered a new lease of life in his unfamiliar role as a right winger at Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 29-year-old has scored four goals in as many games and has been instrumental to Eintracht Frankfurt’s resurgence during the Rückrunde.

“Normally I manage to score twice per season, but I’ve already got four this year, hopefully I’ll get more,” he told their club website.

“I’m pleased things are going so well at the moment. This proves how hard we worked in pre-season,” he added.

Eintracht Frankfurt won just five of their opening 18 Bundesliga fixtures and Adi Hütter feared his job was hanging by a thread. But The Eagles have responded to their critics in phenomenal fashion – winning three of their last four matches and reaching the quarter-final of the DFB-Pokal.

Chandler spent the majority of the 2018/19 campaign out of action with a knee injury but Hütter is repaying him for the persistence he showed during that traumatic period.

“Many have to get used to seeing Timothy Chandler score regularly now. I’m very pleased with him because he’s gone through some hard times,” Hütter said.

Nico Kovac and Hütter both previously experimented with Chandler on the wing but the United States international has predominantly played as a right-back throughout his career.

Eintracht previously played with a 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-3 formation with Danny Da Costa playing at right-wing back. Chandler made just one start during their opening 14 league games but a switch in formation has welcomed him back into the starting line-up.

Hütter switched to a 4-4-2 formation for their surprise defeat against rock bottom Paderborn just before the winter break. Despite the defeat, the 50-year-old persisted with the 4-4-2 system during their opening game of the calendar year against Hoffenheim.

Chandler scored the winning goal just past the hour-mark to inspire them to a 2-1 win at the Rhein-Neckar Arena. Although he didn’t know it at the time, it also marked the beginning of a remarkable goal scoring streak.

The Eagles consolidated their winning start to 2020 with a sensational 2-0 victory against then-leaders RB Leipzig. A draw against relegation threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf temporarily dampened their spirit but a 5-0 win over FC Augsburg on Sunday confirmed that they’re heading down the right path.

Hütter was beaming with pride after their triumph over Augsburg and believed Timothy Chandler’s second goal was the key to victory.

“Looking at the 90 minutes as a whole, we totally deserved the win. Our second goal through Timothy Chandler was the key. After that we passed the ball well and had plenty of attacks,” he said.

He added, “It was a remarkable performance for our third game in six days. It’s our best start to a second half of the season since 1970 and we mustn’t take it for granted.”

Chandler may simply be enjoying a rich vein of form which could fizzle out in the coming weeks. But his attitude to recover from such a horrific injury and recreate himself as a right-winger is truly inspirational.

If he continues in this fashion, Chandler could well be the catalyst to revive their aspirations of Europa League qualification.

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