The whole stadium is calling you. Standing ovation during the substitution. The coach greets you and even greets you. This can all just be a dream, right?
For Eric Dina Junior Ebimbe, it wasn’t a dream, but that’s exactly how it happened last Saturday in Frankfurt. Before the match against Bayern, many pundits and fans were wondering why the Frenchman was back in the first XI against the record champions.
In the cup final in Saarbrücken he showed a completely different face: theatrics and complaints instead of world-class (Site notre bureau spécialisé) like against Bayern. Local press like ‘FR’ spoke of a « bottomless performance » after the cup match. But something happened on Saturday that no one expected: Ebimbe went completely crazy.
Her club is nicknamed the “Diva of Main”, which has once again been impressively demonstrated in the last three matches. Came out against a third division team in the DFB Cup, then slammed the record champions then lost with the second match in Aberdeen. The question now arises as to whether the new recruit from PSG copied this attitude?
Last season, he played at SGE on loan from the French. An injury set him back and he made just 28 appearances for Eintracht. However, the Frankfurters withdrew the purchase option this summer. “Junior showed his great potential in his first season with us,” said sporting director Timmo Hardung upon signing.
With his goal on the final day of the 2022/23 season against Freiburg, Ebimbe ensured the club’s participation in the Conference League. A success story that will simply continue during the 2023/24 season? The Frenchman showed he could do things differently. Unfortunately in a negative sense.
Before the match against Heidenheim in early October, he was excluded from the matchday squad. “Slight after-effects,” wrote the Hessians on their channel
It also became even clearer: « When I see how exhausted everyone has become, then Junior is also asked to give everything in training again. » The midfielder reportedly tried to speak to his coach after the match, Sport1 reported. ‘. He wanted to give his all again, they said.
He would have accumulated a lot of frustration beforehand. This is probably also because Toppmöller tried it in different positions. Eighth, ten or on the wings, only the striker position is still missing from his collection as an offensive role. What he also lacks is the experience needed to settle into a position.
Against Bayern, the speedy striker played on the left again and showed how good he can be when things are going well. At 2-0, he devours the Munich defense around Davies and Upamecano. He tunneled into the Canadian’s penalty area and gave them no chance of reaching the ball with his tight ball control. Even Manuel Neuer seemed so impressed that he didn’t know where the ball was even though it was already in the goal.
“I had the absolute will to score the goal,” he said after the 5-1 gala, according to “fr.de”. For him, it is now about systematically bringing this kind of performance to the field. To not be like his club, which has no consistency in its performances this season and constantly oscillates between extremes. His coach wants to help him: “He is a young player with fluctuating performances, but with a lot of potential. Our job is to always bring the potential to its full potential.
Power, dynamism and speed are among his qualities. Sports director Markus Krösche goes even further. « He has qualities that we don’t have in our team, » he said in an interview with ‘fr.de’. “But he needs to grow up.”
The Frenchman also likes to joke, especially during training camp, reports ‘Sport1’. However, he did not do it alone, but with his friend Randal Kolo Muani, who joined PSG this summer. “Junior” also had to digest the change.
For the moment, he won’t think about it too much, because he has completely different concerns. After his gala performance against Bayern, he could miss Sunday’s match against Bayer Leverkusen. However, not because he stood out negatively in training, but because of injury. In the Conference League match against Aberdeen on Thursday evening, the Frenchman had to be substituted after just nine minutes. Toppmöller then spoke of “no precautionary measures”.
We can only hope that Ebimbe will not be out for much longer, as was the case last season. After all, his club, the “Diva du Main”, needs him in attack to control its own fluctuations. Best with a consistently good Ebimbe. And who knows, maybe more greetings from his coach will follow.