Some 30,000 traveling Eintracht Frankfurt supporters will be "painting the town white" in the Catalan capital tonight.
The SGE survived a late scare to hold off FC Barcelona 3-2 and advance to the Europa League semi-finals for the second time in four years.
After RB Leipzig's win away at Bergamo earlier in the evening, German football will have two representatives in the 2021/22 Europa League Semi-Finals. A coordinated campaign to dress the squad and fans in "Madrid White" during their visit to Barcelona ended up succeeding. Eintracht Frankfurt overcame their Catalan hosts 3-2 to take the quarters 4-3 on aggregate.
Eintracht have repeated their 2018/19 tournament performance and punched through to the semis. An absolutely wild match at the Camp Nou began to feel like Bayern's 8-2 demolition of Barça in the 2019/20 Champions' League quarters. The La Liga side simply wouldn't let it be so, however, and fought back to score two goals in injury time.
SGE trainer Oliver Glasner had to do without suspended defender Lucas Silva "Tuta" Melo and injured defensive midfield linchpin Djibril Sow. As expected Almamy Touré filled in for the Brazilian in the back-three. Normal Eintracht squad captain Sebastian Rode was able to step in for Sow in midfield. Glasner's formation remained his standard 3-4-3/3-6-1.
The match got off to a most unfortunate start for the hosts. After the visiting Germans began with some brave attacking charges, Eric Garcia hauled down Jesper Lindstrøm in the penalty area in the 3rd. Portuguese Match official Artur Soares Dias immediately pointed to the spot. Barça trainer Xavi could only shake his head. After his team conceded three penalties in La Liga on the weekend, they gifted their guests a chance at an early lead.
Filip Kostic duly converted for the 1-0. The hosts fought hard in search of an equalizer. Former Dortmund man Ousmane Dembelé caused quite a bit of trouble on the right. Frankfurt were nevertheless sure to keep the skillful FCB attacker from causing keeper Kevin Trapp and real trouble, in some cases double or triple teaming him. Trapp was finally called into action in the 18th when Ronald Araujo had a go from distance.
The Spanish hosts retained most of the possession and, as the half-hour mark approached, were generating some attacks on the left via Ferran Torres. Only a daring tackle from Kristijan Jakic stopped the Spanish national team striker in the 22nd. Jakic would earn a caution from Soares after a body block on Torres two minutes later. Beyond a couple of meek counters, Frankfurt weren't managing much. Torres was active again in the 28th.
A ball win from Rode in the 34th sent in last-week's dream goal scorer Ansgar Knauff. The Dortmund loanee did extremely well to shake to shake off three FCB markers before entering the box. Knauff's final effort was ultimately too tame to trouble Marc André ter Stegen. That was absolutely not the case two minutes late. Eintracht's Colombian striker Rafael Santos Borré let fly with a screamer from 22 meters out.
Ter Stegen couldn't reach the hellfire missile at full stretch. The German guests were suddenly up 2-0 after Borré's incredible goal. Playing with a massive confidence boosting tailwind, Kanuff, Jakic, Rode and Daichi Kamada all got cracks at the potential 3-0 before the half was out. The scoreline nevertheless held. Trainer Xavi brought on the assister of Torres' goal last Thursday's--Frankie de Jong--on for Pedri at the half.
A chance to pull one back was not long in forthcoming just after the restart. Unfortunately for the hosts, former Bundesliga star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a sitter in the 47th. Dembelé--the other former Dortmund player--was back in force on the right. Rode stood tall against him in the 50th. Martin Hinteregger threw an excellent block on another Dembele cross in the 55th.
Trapp made a super stop against Aubameyang in the same minute. The initial Barça flurry was certainly very impressive and the home supporters woke back up to challenge the noise generated by the traveling SGE contingent. Glasner's German guests roared back on the pitch in the former of chances from Kamada and Lindstrøm as the hour-mark approaches.
A long delay interrupted proceedings when problems with the video relay prevented referee Dias from taking a second look at a potential handball by Borré in the box. After six long minutes, a penalty was not given. Shortly after open play resumed Kostic finished off a Kamada pass for the 3-0 in the 67th. Given how passive the Barça pressing had been on the play, one assumed it was all over.
A flurry of Eintracht chances between the 74th and 80th seemed to confirm as much. All the chances were going Frankfurt's way. When what appeared to be a Sergio Busquet's consolation goal in the 85th was taken back for offside, it really appeared as if it just wasn't Barcelona's night. As the match entered nine minutes of injury time, however, Busquets scored a goal that did count at 90+1.
Many Barça supporters had already filed out of the arena by this point, but those who remained tried to cheer their team on for the improbable miracle. The Blaugrana did their best to oblige. Luuk de Jong didn't miss by much at 90+3. Hinteregger managed a heroic sliding clearance to stop Adama Traoré at 90+4. The bookings came thick and fast during the tense finish. Both Glasner and Xavi saw yellow deep into injury time.
Insanely enough, Barça were rewarded a penalty at 90+10 when N'dicka was judged to have elbowed Luuk de Jong on an aerial challenge in the box. Trapp guessed the right way on Memphis Depay's spot kick, but couldn't prevent the ball from bouncing off the crossbar and over the line. Trapp tried to hold onto the ball in order to kill off the last few seconds.
Match official Soares Dias opted to book Trapp for his time-wasting tactic, yet decided against adding any more time to the match. The full-time whistle officially blew at 90+12, before the hosts could restart from the halfway line. Frankfurt ended up barely hanging on for a slim 3-2 victory.
|1||M. ter Stegen|
|22||Ó. Mingueza García ↪61|
|24||E. García ↪70|
|5||Sergio Busquets (C) ⚽|
|25||P. Aubameyang ↪61|
|19||F. Torres ↪80|
|36||A. Tenas Ureña|
|9||M. Depay ↩80 ⚽|
|11||A. Traoré ↩61|
|17||L. de Jong ↩70|
|2||S. Dest ↩61|
|31||A. Balde Martínez|
|6||R. Puig Martí|
|21||F. de Jong ↩46|
|28||N. González Iglesias|
|18||A. Touré ↪90|
|36||A. Knauff ↪90|
|17||S. Rode (C) ↪80|
|10||F. Kostić ⚽⚽|
|29||J. Lindstrøm ↪80|
|19||R. Borré ⚽ ↪90|
|21||R. Ache ↩90|
|23||J. Hauge ↩80|
|20||M. Hasebe ↩90|
|24||D. da Costa|
|7||A. Hrustic ↩80|
|22||T. Chandler ↩90|