In the last season, there was a real hype about Ansgar Knauff at Borussia Dortmund. But recently the U21 international was only a supplementary player at BVB. At Eintracht Frankfurt, Knauff is now making a new attempt – and must deliver immediately.
For his starting eleven debut with the Borussia Dortmund pros, Ansgar Knauff used the big stage in April 2021: in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, with Pep Guardiola and his star ensemble from Manchester City.
Knauff got 63 minutes of playing time in the 1:2 defeat at the Emirates Stadium under the then BVB interim coach Edin Terzic and not only delighted him with some successful actions.
The winger showed “that he can run away from people,” enthused Terzic after the game. Knauff has long been “no longer a guest, but has been part of our team for a long time”.
Knauff could be an “X factor” in the Dortmund game, wrote “Sky”. The “Sportschau” certified the native of Göttingen, who scored his first Bundesliga goal directly after the city game against VfB Stuttgart, an “incredible week”. “Out of the shadows into the limelight” was the headline in the magazine “11Freunde” about Knauff.
BVB about-face at Ansgar Knauff
Sports director Michael Zorc categorically ruled out a loan deal for the new season to give the home-grown player more match practice. “The plan is for Ansgar to stay and become a real, full squad member,” emphasized the BVB veteran.
A good six months later, the Causa Knauff shows how fast-moving the football business actually is: On Thursday, BVB loaned the 20-year-old to Eintracht Frankfurt – one of the clubs that tried to loan Knauff last summer , from which Borussia had received a rejection.
In an interview with “dfb.de” last November, Knauff described his situation at BVB as “sometimes difficult for a young player”. There was no improvement in sight under Terzic’s successor Marco Rose.
BVB: Announcement by Marco Rose for Ansgar Knauff
Knauff’s statistics for 2021/2022 include a disappointing nine competitive games without a goal for the Dortmund professionals, as well as eight games (one goal) for BVB’s U23s in the 3rd division. The promise he made himself with his spectacular preseason performances has not been fulfilled.
He and Knauff are “in regular contact,” said Rose before the game against Mainz 05. “We all know his strengths. But we all also know what he needs to work on,” added the BVB coach. “Of course” he wanted to “promote young players,” said Rose. “But you have to work hard for every assignment.”
At BVB, Knauff obviously no longer saw the chance to do so. “He approached us with the desire to gain more match practice as part of a loan. We would like to offer him this opportunity to develop at a high level,” commented licensed player manager Sebastian Kehl on the temporary departure of the former hopeful in the direction of Frankfurt.
After all: A purchase option or obligation is not included in Knauff’s loan agreement. As of now, he can make a new attempt at BVB from 2023.
Ansgar Knauff should help Eintracht Frankfurt “immediately”
First of all, however, Knauff has to deliver to his new club – and according to the will of Eintracht, not only in perspective. The new signing is “able to help us immediately on the flanks,” said SGE sports director Markus Krösche, praising his “pace and understanding of the game.”
In fact, Knauff can be a real weapon in offensive play. Last season he managed more dribbles than the former BVB star Jadon Sancho in the 90-minute average. In addition, Knauff prepared more shots on goal than the Englishman, who has since been sold to Manchester United – skills that Eintracht could now also benefit from, especially since the footballing quality on the wings is manageable apart from the untouchable Filip Kostic.
Eintracht’s coaching team around head coach Oliver Glasner has to work with Knauff on his poor defensive behavior, which may have been one of the main reasons for his prevented breakthrough at BVB.
Lots of ball losses as well as often less targeted work in reverse characterize Knauff’s game at the highest level. If he gets these weaknesses under control, he could become important in Glasner’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system, which has not worked as desired at Eintracht so far.
“I’m happy that I can be a part of the whole thing and I hope that I can contribute as best I can,” said the man from New Frankfurt in his first interview with the club’s own TV station. Knauff should start doing that as soon as possible.