Veh still undecided as Frankfurt seek those elusive 40 points | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.03.2013
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Veh still undecided as Frankfurt seek those elusive 40 points

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Armin Veh has said he won't decide whether to renew his contract with the club until it has 40 points in the standngs. After six games without a win, he may have to adjust that pledge.

The sports pages in Frankfurt and around the central state of Hesse have been full of speculation about Veh's intentions for weeks now.

Veh said much earlier in the season that he would address the issue sometime after Frankfurt reached 40 points in the Bundesliga standngs - a threshold generally seen as high enough to avoid relegation. Unfortunately for Frankfurt, though, that number is proving elusive, despite the fact that they've been only one point shy of the mark since March 10.

Poor form

Ever since rumors of Veh's exit began in earnest, the club have struggled. After starting the second half of the season with two wins in three games, Frankfurt have slumped to three scoreless draws and three losses, scoring just one goal in the process.

Srdjan Lakic of Eintracht Frankfurt reacts after missing a chance to score against Borussia Moenchengladbach during their German first division Bundesliga soccer match in Frankfurt, March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Lakic was prolific - for one whole game

Frankfurt's inability to put the ball in the back of the net is particularly worrying. Eleven of the club's 33 goals during the first half of the season came from longtime Frankfurter Alex Meier. But the 28-year-old midfielder couldn't be expected to carry the scoring load for the entire season and he now hasn't netted since January.

Srdan Lakic, signed on loan from Wolfsburg in the winter transfer window, briefly looked like he might be the striker Frankfurt had been seeking after he scored twice on his debut. But the injuries and poor form that followed have prevented the Croatian from scoring a single goal since.

To make matters worse, Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp recently broke his hand and finger during a publicity shoot for Germany's Under-21 side. Enjoying a breakout season and a key part of Frankfurt's success in the Bundesliga, he is likely to miss the remainder of the campaign, despite a successful operation.

"I would have obviously preferred to have won and I would have liked to reach the 40 points," Veh told broadcaster Sky after Frankfurt's latest match, a 2-1 loss at home to Stuttgart. "Now we don't have them."

"We have to come to a decision in the international break because this walking on egg shells is unbearable in the long run," he added, saying a decision would be made before Frankfurt take on last place Greuther Fürth on Sunday.

Schalke-bound?

Despite their poor run of form, Frankfurt have managed to cling onto the Bundesliga's fourth spot. Competitors Mainz have been equally inconsistent in 2013.

Schalke, who pose the greatest danger to Frankfurt missing out on the Champions League, have managed to stop the freefall that began late last year, winning three out of their last four matches.

Keller leading a Schalke training Foto: Kevin Kurek/dpa

Veh could be the man to replace Keller at the helm of Schalke next season

Ironically Schalke is Veh's rumored destination, with some reports claiming he has already signed a contract with the club, something Veh has denied.

The Gelsenkirchen side have been led by Jens Keller since Huub Stevens was fired in December, but are looking for a permanent replacement and are willing to spend the money to lure Veh from Frankfurt. Furthermore, Schalke's technical director, Horst Heldt, enjoyed a successful partnership with Veh during their days in Stuttgart, where they won the Bundesliga title in 2007.

However, recent reports that Frankfurt may be set to sign a lucrative new jersey sponsorship deal with automaker Fiat, has given Eintracht fans hope that Veh might just stick around. The three-year agreement, reported to be worth around 18 million euros ($23.4 million), would provide Frankfurt with the means for technical director Bruno Hübner to buy in the kind of new recruits that could help convince Veh to stay on.

Combine that with the possible - though what appears to be increasingly unlikely - chance of Champions League football, and Frankfurt becomes a much more appealing place to work.

Veh has said an announcement on his future is imminent, but it could be that the all the recent developments likely to factor into his thinking have made reaching that decision even more difficult.

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