Niko Kovac had it comparatively easy when he came to Eintracht Frankfurt in 2016. At the time, the club was a relegation candidate, for sixth place after 23 Bundesliga matchdays they might have carried it on their shoulders over the Römer. And now?

2: 2 (2: 2) played Eintracht at Kovac’s new club VfL Wolfsburg. The result was enough to keep a comfortable lead over all non-European Cup places. But it was not enough to get back to within one point of the Champions League ranks in the Bundesliga.

In the assessment of a sometimes fast-paced Sunday evening game, the second point of view prevailed – and that went quite against the grain of the Frankfurt veteran Sebastian Rode. The 32-year-old was there when Eintracht last played in the 2nd Bundesliga in the 2011/12 season. So he said in the cabin aisle of the Volkswagen Arena: “Our expectations have now been raised so much that we should, have to, reach the Champions League.” That’s why a 2-2 draw in Wolfsburg is “of course not enough for all outsiders”.

“But for me,” Rode continued, “it’s all rated too negatively. We’re having a very, very good season. We can’t outplay every opponent. A draw in Wolfsburg isn’t that dramatic.”

DFB Cup winner 2018, Europa League semi-finalist 2019, Europa League winner 2022: In some situations, Eintracht falls victim to its own success. Your ex-coach Kovac, who created the sporting foundations for this development in his two years in Frankfurt, had already emphasized this before the reunion on Sunday evening.

Everything in this club is constantly growing, he said. “Above all, the demand is growing. Eintracht is no longer satisfied with tenth place, they always want more. That is implemented in the club. Everyone who comes to Frankfurt knows what is expected and what they want to achieve.”

Since the beginning of February, the team has been lagging behind this expectation. In the second half of the Bundesliga season, she only won two out of six games. In the Champions League, after the 0-2 first-leg defeat against SSC Napoli, the round of 16 is threatened.

In Wolfsburg, Frankfurt turned around a quick 0:1 deficit through Omar Marmoush (10th) within just four minutes: Randal Kolo Muani (22nd) scored to 1:1, Evan Ndicka (26th) to 2:1 . From the opponent’s point of view, the 2:2 by Yannick Gerhardt (43rd) was only a minimum wage for the fact that VfL had significantly more and significantly better chances in this game.

And so everything is still possible for Eintracht this season: from a place in the Champions League, a place in the Champions League and another cup win to losing all goals, as this club has done in the second half of the season has shown more often.

In the end, coach Oliver Glasner agreed with his captain Rode in his analysis. “We have to be careful not to think: we drive everywhere and pick up the points in passing,” said the former Wolfsburg coach. “I can live with this result very well because I know that it is very difficult to score points here. I am happy with the result.”