Real Madrid: Expectations for Luka Jovic at Eintracht Frankfurt

Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid have officially loaned young striker Luka Jovic back to Eintracht Frankfurt, but what can fans expect from him over the next six months?

After Real Madrid spent 60 million euros to sign Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt following a breakout 2018-2019 campaign in the Bundesliga and Europa League, the Serbian international is on his way back to the Eagles after being a seldom-used backup for Los Blancos in his first 1.5 seasons in Madrid.

This season, Jovic received a meager 149 minutes of playing time in La Liga, with only Eder Militao and Alvaro Odriozola earning fewer minutes among first-team players. Odriozola, of course, has been injured for much of the season.

Jovic received back-to-back starts at the beginning of the campaign against Real Betis and Real Valladolid. He didn’t blow anyone away, but he seemingly showed enough to earn more minutes. Seemingly. The reality, of course, is that Zinedine Zidane was uninterested in giving Jovic any real chance ahead of the legendary Karim Benzema.

All told, it’s been a tough situation for Jovic, but he’s still on Real Madrid’s books. And that’s a good thing. Jovic seems like the kind of player who is determined to succeed with Los Blancos, and he can make his way back to the club if he excels in Frankfurt.

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When Jovic last played in the Bundesliga, he was one of the best players in the league, forming a lethal attacking quartet with Sebastien Haller, Ante Rebic, and Filip Kostic. Eintracht aren’t as potent in 2020-2021, but they do have a top Bundesliga striker in Andre Silva, the creative Daichi Kamada, and the hard-working Kostic in the attack.

Back in a comfortable environment where he has already succeeded before and in an attack-heavy league that favors Jovic’s skill-set, the 23-year-old could hit the ground running and have a sensational six months.

He’ll need to impress, too, because time is of the essence for Jovic if he’s to stay in Madrid. The club doesn’t have much to work with financially, but if there’s an opening for Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe in 2021, you’d better believe Florentino Perez will be at the bargaining table.

Jovic must prove to Perez and Real Madrid that he is world-class and that the team should not go the extra mile to sign a new striker in the summer 2021 transfer window. As of right now, Jovic will have a tall task competing with Haaland, who has jaw-dropping athleticism and ever-improving link-up play, but it’s not impossible for him to change Real’s mind.

Luka Jovic must find another level to his game in order to return to Real Madrid

There are about 20 matches left in the 2020-2021 Bundesliga campaign, which means Jovic has potentially 20 high-quality opportunities to make his presence felt and even help Frankfurt return to the Europa League.

In 2018-2019, Jovic averaged 0.68 goals per 90 minutes and 0.20 assists per 90 minutes. That means if Jovic were to get the full 90 minutes in 20 starts, he would need to score 14 goals to surpass his scoring efficiency in his first stint with Frankfurt.

Of course, it’s not realistic to expect Jovic to play every minute of every game, and it may be difficult for him to match his scoring rate while sharing those duties with the prolific Silva. But it’s reasonable to expect Jovic to make up the difference in goals with assists, since his creative responsibilities would reciprocally increase.

If Jovic plays 1,500 minutes (to make the numbers easier) in the next six months, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want him to record at least 15 goal contributions (nearly one per game, which is around Silva’s current output). That would represent a slight increase from his 0.88 goals and assists per 90 in his first stint to 0.90, and while the team around him isn’t as good, you’d expect his numbers to at least stay the same since he should be better now. Despite the lack of playing time in Real Madrid, you’d expect him to make progress technically and athletically, especially after training for such an esteemed club.

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That’s an ambitious benchmark, considering Jovic had 22 goal contributions in a full Bundesliga season, but Jovic will need to be ambitious in order to earn his spot at Real Madrid. Los Merengues need to have the highest of expectations for Jovic and set the bar with lofty goals in mind, because the margin for error in Madrid is getting slimmer with each disappointing Champions League campaign. Jovic can be the team’s No. 9 of the future. He has the quality. The door is still open. But he is fighting an uphill battle, which means he must produce like he never has before.