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Europe: Europa League
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Y. El-Arabi (12)
D. Kamada (17), J. Hauge (90)

Frankfurt book passage to Europa League knockouts with dramatic late win

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

Oliver Glasner's Eintracht Frankfurt attained their third straight win in the Europa League on Thursday evening.

While the team still hasn't found its league form, the result means that Germany's Eagles are definitely headed to the Europa League knockouts.
Evan N'Dicka.
Evan N'Dicka.Photo: GEPA Pictures/Roger Petzsche
Whether in first place or second in their group, Eintracht Frankfurt assured that their fans would be treated to at least one European club tournament home match in the calendar year 2022. The SGE are at least through to the February intermediate round playoffs after snatching three points late against Olympiacos Piraeus. If the German club can maintain first place in the group, they'll go straight through to the 2021/22 competition's round-of-16 in March.

Already missing Gonçalo Paciencia and Christopher Lenz, SGE head-coach Oliver Glasner also had to make do without regulars Ajdin Hrustic, Filip Kostic, and Erik Durm on shorter notice. Eintracht's trainer built a 3-5-2 with a back-three of Makoto Hasebe, Evan N'dicka, and Lucas Silva "Tuta" Melo. The eager spark from the last league match, Aymen Barkok, reprised his role as a right-wingback. Timothy Chandler worked opposite him across from midfield anchors Djibril Sow and the returning Kristijan Jakic.

A talented double-striker set of Sam Lammers and Rafael Santos Borré--supported by Daichi Kamada in the ten-slot couldn't produce a scoring chance before the hosting Greeks took the lead. A quick attack from the home side ended with Youssef El-Arabi finishing off a cross in the 12th. There were more chances from the C.F.P. before the German guests equalized against the run of play five minutes later. Kamada found the back of the net following some nice work from Borré.

Several foul stoppages and injury timeouts impeded match flow for much of the rest of the first half. When Frankfurt did try to mount organized charges, the Germans lost the ball in midfield too easily. Kevin Trapp had to bail his team out on several occasions as the hosts were able to get their act together and pelt the SGE keeper with several shots in the final ten minutes of the half.

Matters proceeded more or less in this same vein after the restart. A slightly more adventurous Eintracht side weren't able to prevent Olympiacos from getting the better chances. Glasner made a double switch in the 58th. Jesper Lindstrøm and Almamy Touré relieved Lammers and Barkok. This unfortunately didn't get the team rolling. Glasner himself was booked in the 68th for kicking a ball that rolled toward him off the pitch in frustration.

Apart from a Lindstrøm drive in the 69th, Eintracht weren't able to manage anything of note offensively down the stretch. Glasner used all five substitutes in an attempt to get as many fresh legs on the field as possible. As luck would have it, two of the subs combined in the second minute of injury time to help the team snatch the late win.

Lindstrøm--skillfully unleashed by N'dicka--went on an enterprising run. The Dane would ultimately end of servicing fellow Scandinavian Jens Petter Hauge (on in the 78th for Borré). The Norwegian finished from close range at 90+2 after Lindstrøm got a good ball into the penalty area from the left.

Eintracht's third straight win in the Europa League sends them atop the Group D standings on ten points. Olympiacos sit in second place on six points with two UEL match days remaining.

The Eagles of Germany's commercial capital may have tasted victory thrice in the Europa League, have still only won one match Bundesliga. The 15th-placed SGE's domestic league campaign continues with a visit to last-placed Fürth on Sunday.

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