DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Three days before their crucial last game at Dortmund with their top-flight survival on the line, Eintracht Frankfurt are still unsure whether American midfielder Ricardo Clark will be able to participate.
Clark had reestablished himself in Frankfurt's starting lineup as their season came down to its final breaths, but was forced to leave their game two weeks ago against Mainz early in the first half with a calf strain.
He missed their following contest - a 2-0 loss at home to Cologne - and now the team is still sweating his return for their do-or-die final game at Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.
"Ricardo still was not able to train with the team today," Frankfurt press chief Carsten Knoop confirmed on Wednesday afternoon. "We hope he can begin training again before the end of the week, but whether or not he will be able to play on Saturday is still a big question mark."
Frankfurt, colloquially known as the Moody Diva, might have already sung their swan song on a run during which they have maintained top flight status in Germany since the 2005-06 season.
Heading into the final weekend, they are next-to-last in the Bundesliga, occupying one of the two automatic relegation spots. This means they need at least a draw on the home field of league champions Dortmund if they hope to catch Borussia Mönchengladbach in the relegation playoff spot, but even an unlikely victory might not be enough should the Foals triumph on the road over Hamburg.
"If we end up in the relegation playoff, then we would have the first game at home on Thursday, May 19, and there would be a better chance that Ricardo would be ready to play by then," Knoop concluded.
All hope for survival is not lost for the club, as what would amount to a historic win on Saturday could also feasibly lift them entirely clear of all relegation dealings, should it be combined with a loss or draw by both Gladbach and VfL Wolfsburg.