His start at Eintracht was promising, but Philipp Max suffered a dip in form at the end of the summer. He wasn’t even registered for the Champions Cup. Now he talks about the difficult phase.
Philipp Max is only 30 years old, but on Wednesday on the training pitch in Frankfurt he was almost one of the “Methuselahs” – of course with Makoto Hasebe. Since numerous Frankfurt professionals play in the national team, among the 17 players on the field there were a handful of young talents, around ten years younger than Max.
Spicy for the former or current national team player: At the same time, the DFB team was training a long tee away on campus. Left backs like him have been desperately sought after for years. However, his last international match was three years ago.
Late summer: Max seemed inhibited
Max would have had every reason to be dissatisfied with Eintracht’s training, but he became passionate and gave encouraging orders to all the youngsters. Because the Viersen native is happy to play a special role in the club again.
After moving from Eindhoven to the Main in the spring, his first appearances were praised, but by the end of the summer he fell so short of expectations that he was not even registered in the European Cup squad. His crosses were no longer accurate and the balance of the duels was weakened. Max looked inhibited.
Help from outside
After training on Wednesday he took time with journalists and also his heart to talk in detail about the difficult situation. “If I go a little further, I have to say that the last time in Holland had an impact on me,” explained Max, who played for PSV Eindhoven and has been viewed more critically at this stage.
“I didn’t play as freely as I knew how.”
End of quote
“That did something to me. Even though I played the first games here right from the start, I no longer played as freely as before.”
After not being nominated for the European Cup, he asked for advice, but “not from his inner circle”. Max wanted an objective opinion from the outside. “It’s nice to talk to different people about what defines you, not necessarily as a footballer, but as a person.”
Complete through Eindhoven
What was particularly special was that he was the only person in the family who would have informed contact. Father Martin, for example, was even booed by the fans of his favorite team, Schalke 04, in the late 1890s. He moved to Munich in 1860 and became top scorer there. “He’s been in the industry for 15 or 16 years and obviously we’ve exchanged ideas. But for me it was important to have someone who wasn’t so close to me.”
He didn’t want to explicitly name the person he was talking to, but the result: Max’s hunger awoke. “In Eindhoven I scored many goals, European Cup, national team, titles. If you manage to win, you must first look for new motivation.”
The national team in mind
In purely sporting terms, there should now be enough ambition with the young Eintracht team. Max learned firsthand that coach Dino Toppmöller mercilessly organizes teams according to the performance principle. “I think that not only through my example, but also that of others, everyone in the team now knows that they have to give 100%.”
Sometimes even a little more. During the period in which his performances were at their lowest, he worked extra shifts compared to normal training and he also wants to continue like this. And Max hasn’t dropped the National topic yet. “I’ve always said it was the most important thing in my career. It doesn’t look like it’s coming anytime soon, but I’ll do everything for it.”
Signed against Dortmund
Max has been back in the starting lineup since the beginning of October and compared to his competitor Niels Nkounkou he gives the impression of being more mature and is also a little stronger in his backward movement. Even in the match against Dortmund Max led the way with tough checks and duels, shouting his joy in the stands after winning the duels.
But what is still missing compared to the Max from the Augusta days: the models. Only on the first day against Darmstadt did he prepare Randal Kolo Muani’s goal. At FCA, values were regularly close to or above the double-digit range. He wants to go back too.
And then there is a provisional goal: after the preliminary round of the Conference League, Eintracht can name a new team. Max should be included in the team immediately: the 30-year-old has had enough of Thursdays at home on the sofa.