Lukas Hradecky proves worth for Eintracht Frankfurt again | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 03.11.2017
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Lukas Hradecky proves worth for Eintracht Frankfurt again

Eintracht Frankfurt won thanks to another late goal from their new French striker, but the victory wouldn't have been possible without heroics from their Finnish keeper early in the game.

Ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt's game against Werder Bremen, Lukas Hradecky said in an interview with Frankfurter Neue Presse: "You can't win a game hands down". By the end of the evening, it seemed pertinent to suggest that Frankfurt couldn't have won many games without their Finnish keeper.

When Sebastien Haller struck another late winner for Frankfurt, the importance of the Frenchman was renewed. Without Hradecky though, Haller's name wouldn't have been in the headlines again.

The 27-year-old Finn made a string of stunning first-half saves to keep the scores level at the break.

His saves were like a full set of instruments contributing towards a symphony – and his performance was worthy of the audience it had.

Three minutes in, he denied Max Kruse's shot with a well-placed leg. Then, he kept his body big to deny Zlatko Junuzovic's scuffed effort. Minutes later, he threw up his right arm to make a stunning, reflex save at the near post. The flurry of saves was complete when he made a full-stretch dive to his right to tip a curling Maximilian Eggestein effort wide. It was a short burst of activity, but Hradecky had been alive to it all.

By the break, he had made six saves and Frankfurt were fortunate to go in level. The second half lost the tempo and excitement of the first half, but with Haller's late winner that period of defiance before the break proved game-changing.

Read more: Haller - the Bundesliga bargain of the summer?

Not perfect, but perhaps underrated

If there is one criticism of the Finn, it's his distribution. A few of his clearances were wide of the target, and sometimes he opted to play the safer, longer ball rather than find a teammate nearby.

Nevertheless, since arriving in 2015, Hradecky has joined the list of impressive Bundesliga goalkeepers. He has moments of madness – an early red card in Leipzig in January of this year and a decisive foul in the box against Dortmund in the German Cup final – but few keepers have a career without error.

In last year's memorable cup run, he was a hero in the shoot-out on more than one occasion and nights like the one against Werder Bremen on Matchday 11 are not rare.

At the end of the season, Hradecky's contract will run out and while talks are expected there is a feeling that the keeper will depart. A talented keeper, a great teammate and aged just 27, Hradecky will be of interest to many, especially with his best years likely ahead of him.

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