Lean food instead of a lavish football festival: Eintracht Frankfurt missed out on their first home win in the club's history in the Champions League at the second attempt, but kept every chance of progressing with a goalless draw against Tottenham Hotspur.
In front of 50,500 spectators, the Hessians deserved a point in the duel with the third-placed team in the English Premier League around star striker Harry Kane due to the improvement in performance in the second half.
With four points each, both teams are tied in Group D behind leaders Sporting Lisbon (6), who lost 4-1 at Olympique Marseille (3). Eintracht will travel to London for the second leg as early as next week.
"Tottenham are of course the favourites, this offensive is probably one of the best there is in Europe," said Eintracht coach Oliver Glasner before kick-off: "It is important to control them and the few spaces that Antonio's team have Conte gives you to exploit effectively."
In fact, Tottenham showed their much-vaunted offensive power right from the start - especially Kane. The England international narrowly missed the ball twice (12th and 25th) in front of goal, and his long-range shot (28th) was not far off the mark. But Eintracht didn't hide at first either, in a brief urge phase, midfielder Sebastian Rode (18th) missed, whose shot was deflected to a corner.
Overall, Eintracht, in which the recently rested Djibril Sow replaced the injured Mario Götze, as expected, was initially not powerful enough despite all efforts. Also because striker Randal Kolo Muani, who Glasner granted a lot of freedom as an "instinct footballer" on the offensive, was largely taken out of the game by the guests' defense. Daichi Kamada, who had taken over the Götze position in attacking midfield, didn't have enough accents either. In addition, the bad passes that inhibited the flow of the game increased.
Tottenham was different: When they won the ball, they went straight and dangerous again and again. Shortly before the half-time whistle, former Bundesliga pros Heung-Min Son (40') missed good opportunities to take the lead at half-time after a fine back-heel from Kane and Ivan Perisic (43').
After the change of sides, the home side came out of the dressing room with more momentum, which was immediately rewarded with a great chance: Sow chipped the ball perfectly into the penalty area, where Ansgar Knauff brought it straight onto goal from the air. But guest goalkeeper Hugo Lloris parried. After an hour, Jesper Lindström went wide in a promising position. The Premier League third was defensively vulnerable.
But that also applied to Frankfurt, especially with Kane and Son, the defenders around old star Makoto Hasebe had their problems. After less than an hour, the disappointing Kolo Muani had to leave the field for Rafael Santos Borré. As the game progressed, both teams slowed down a bit, which meant there were few chances.