Is Marco Fabian’s coach at Eintracht Frankfurt still salty about El Tri beating Croatia two summers ago? His father, Marco Fabian, Sr., certainly thinks so, since his son has seen the bench ever since Niko Kovac arrived to manage his club last month.

Over the winter, Fabian left Chivas Guadalajara for the colder, torta ahogada-less climate of Germany to play for Eintracht Frankfurt. The midfielder notched an assist in his debut on January 24 under then-coach Armin Veh. The German manager gave Fabian time on the field in each match – until he was sacked on March 6.

The heads at Frankfurt signed Kovac as his replacement two days later. Fabian made the team sheet on Kovac’s first game with the club, a 3-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach on March 12, but hasn’t featured in a game since, and sat with the reserves in the most recent match against Bayern Munich.

The elder Fabian spoke about his son’s time in Germany during an interview with Univision Deportes before the match between Chivas and Pumas. While the conversation was mostly positive, it quickly took a negative turn when Fabian Sr. admitted that he and his son believe that Mexico’s victory against Croatia, then coached by Kovac, is behind his son’s lack of time on the field.

Kovac coached the Croatian national team from 2013-2015, including a stint at the 2014 World Cup, where his team faced Brazil, Cameroon, and Mexico. The Croatians lost to Brazil in the opener, defeated Cameroon, and lost to Mexico 3 – 1 in the final match of the group stage. Kovac and his players made some heavy boasts in the lead up to the final match, proclaiming that they would leave El Tri’s players with “trembling knees” and that Mario Mandzukic had scored on better goalkeepers than Memo Ochoa. El Tri responded with three goals and a celebratory dance from Andrés Guardado where he mocked the “trembling knees” comment.

Fabian Sr. was quick to point out that it wasn’t a matter of racism or bigotry, but that he had no other explanation for his son’s lack of playing time other than being salty from that loss in the World Cup. The younger Fabian also claims he has yet to even be approached by Kovac in any way.

It’s a terrible way for Fabian to live his dream of playing in Europe. He surely had hoped to leave his mark in the Bundesliga as his El Tri compatriot Javier “Chicharito” Hernández has at Bayer Leverkusen. Instead, he’s currently not even sitting on the substitute bench for his team. His dream may get cut shorter, as he has a release clause in his contract freeing him from Frankfurt should the team be relegated to Bundesliga 2, for which they’re currently at risk.

In the same Univision Deportes interview, Omnilife and Chivas owner Jorge Vergara weighed in, though as always, no one asked for his opinion. He let Fabian know that he’s always welcome to return to Chivas if things don’t work out on the other side of the world.

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