Germany U20 international Ilayda Açıkgöz continues to develop with Eintracht Frankfurt

Ilayda Açikgöz in uniform for Germany

Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Köln’ shattered the Frauen-Bundesliga attendance record with 38,365 fans present back in April 2023. On the bench, twin sisters Ilayda and Dilara Açıkgöz watched on anxiously.

Dilara, a full-back or winger, got the chance to make her first team debut in the Bundesliga and enter the match in stoppage time as Frankfurt looked to close out a 2-0 win. Ilayda was able to watch her sister enter into a monumental occasion. The previous week, the roles were reversed. Ilayda, a midfielder, made her Bundesliga debut against Duisburg in stoppage time and scored a goal before it was called offside. Dilara watched her sister from the sideline.

As 18-year-olds last season, the Açıkgöz twins spent a mix of time with the Eintracht Frankfurt first and second teams. Ilayda was also a part of the U19 Germany National Team as they qualified for the U19 UEFA Women’s Championship. After qualifying, the twins competed in the 2023 tournament, where Germany made it to the final before falling on penalties to Spain.

Ilayda Açıkgöz’s journey so far

The twins were born in Schwäbisch Hall in Southern Germany. They started playing football in kindergarten before moving to their elementary school team. Eventually, the twins began playing with the FSV Waiblingen boys’ team before they were signed for Eintracht Frankfurt’s second team.

I spoke with Ilayda Açıkgöz about her journey so far and what it has meant to represent her country, play with a top club like Frankfurt, and more.

Ilayda Açıkgöz is an aggressive central midfield player who loves the physical part of the game but also provides a creative outlet in midfield for her team. With a strong passing range and technical skill, Açıkgöz was a vital asset for the U19 team in midfield as they won five of their six qualifying matches while scoring 25 goals and only conceding three. At the tournament, Germany continued their strong play on the trip to the final of the competition.

When asked what it felt like to represent Germany, Açıkgöz shared: “I’m very proud to represent the German team, and it was an incredible feeling to experience this adventure with my teammates in an international tournament.”

Embed from Getty Images

Outside of her teammates, Açıkgöz looked up to a fellow German international with Turkish roots, Mesut Özil. Lina Magull of Bayern Munich and the senior Germany national team was also a player that Ilayda looked up to in her early career.

For most of last season, Açıkgöz played a role with Frankfurt’s second team. She also regularly trained with the first team and has been an option on the bench. Acikgöz has taken that opportunity to learn from her seniors on and off the pitch.

“It’s a great opportunity to play with so many top players and learn a lot from their professionalism on and off the field,” she said.

Ilayda Açıkgöz scores her first goal for the club during her first start.

Building on her ability

While only 19 years old, Açıkgöz already has several highlight moments in her career. She specifically mentioned playing in the 2022 U19 UEFA Championship hosted by the Czech Republic and being a part of the Frankfurt squad that played in the UEFA Champions League in 2022, which played Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark.

This season, Ilayda has been a mainstay in Eintracht Frankfurt’s first team, usually providing an option from the bench. She has been able to add more impressive moments to her young career. She scored her first Bundesliga in her first start for the first team and her first UEFA Champions League goal in back-to-back matches.

The Frankfurt supporters cheer on the team and Ilayda Açıkgöz after her first goal for the club.

When Acikgöz isn’t playing or training, she enjoys listening to music and keeping up with fashion. She supports the men’s team at Eintracht Frankfurt and often goes to the Waldstadion to support them.

Ilayda Açıkgöz continues to grow into a strong midfielder in a very talented environment with Eintracht Frankfurt as well as with the U20 Germany National Team.

MORE from Her Football Hub: