The stage in Seville is set for Eintracht and Rangers to make May 18th their happiest date in a long time. Both clubs arrive at the UEFA Europa League final with the highest expectations and the highest confidence in the style of football that brought them to the final.
Seville is bracing itself to receive as many as 150.000 fans for the match.
The German squad completed the last training session before the match on Tuesday morning, all available players completed it in Frankfurt before traveling to Spain, including Jesper Lindstrom and Evan Ndicka.
Regarding the Danish playmaker, trainer Oliver Glasner said Lindstrom is completely fit and has been fit and training the last couple of days, making him fully available for the final.
The Austrian did say, however, that he has not decided on whether Lindstrøm will start.
During the press conference, Glasner expressed how proud he is of his players, stating they deserve to be at this stage, and how the emotions kept getting bigger and bigger during the Europa League nights.
Frankfurt’s coach also remarked how important and amazing the club’s fans are, and how the environment they create is unique and pushes the players forward.
About their rivals Rangers, Glasner commentated he and his team view the Scottish side as a mix in style between West Ham and Barcelona, stating he wants to approach the match focusing on Eintracht’s strengths.
Eintracht’s starting XI will not be a mystery, at least at 90%; it has not been during the whole season, so it will definitely not be one for the final.
Glasner’s 3-4-2-1 will stay the same, with Trapp on goal, Tuta, Toure coming in for the injured Martin Hinteregger, and Ndicka who’ll move to the center of the defense.
The loss of Hinteregger is a hard knock for Die Adler, not only as they lost their leader in the defense and their most reliable player, but also because the coordination in the defensive movements and transitions will be altered.
The pair in the midfield will be Rode and Sow, while Ansgar Knauff and Filip Kostic will go down the flanks.
Daichi Kamada and Jesper Lindstrøm will support Rafael Santos Borre at the front.
As Glasner himself said, he wants to see Eintracht’s style of football, meaning there will be moments where Die Adler will press very high to disrupt Ranger’s build-up and, if possible, steal the ball as fast as possible.
However, the middle to low block will eventually come after some minutes; due to both Eintracht’s and Ranger’s strength.
The Scottish side excelled against Leipzig at winning the second balls thanks to their intensity and positioning; they also played quick short to keep the possession or long passes to attack the spaces behind the backs, meaning Frankfurt must be on their heels when pressing.
Lindstrøm and Kamada must be very aware defensively too, either to help down the flank or to protect the movement in between the lines of Ranger’s midfield players.
Offensively, the pair will push the transition as fast as possible, but they must be prepared for one of either Lundstrom, Goldson, or Bassey to step up to them as soon as they receive the ball, if not earlier.
Filip Kostic and James Tavernier will display one of the night’s battles, but down the other flank will come one of the defensive trouble for the SGE.
Ansgar Knauff will have to deal with Ryan Kent and the support of Croatian left-back Borna Barisic, it will be key Knauff’s awareness as well as Tuta’s speed to close down the space.
Rode and Sow will protect the middle while keeping an eye to support the overloads down the flanks.
Colombian striker Rafael Santos Borre will be in for a long night fighting with the center-backs, looking for an opportunity to take.
The keys for Die Adler lie in being strong and confident in both boxes, taking advantage of their chances, and being patient whenever their lighting quick offensive transition is not found.
The Scottish side face the final with two difference makers back in Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey, although it is still unclear if they’ll start.
Dutch trainer Giovanni Van Bronckhorst said at the press conference that Roofe had finally recovered from his injury and that he would do the whole training session, which he completed.
The Arsenal and Barcelona legend expressed his joy of being in the final and the pride it means for him to coach his players on such a stage.
Van Bronckhorst stated that although Frankfurt have their fair share of similarities with the German teams Rangers have faced this UEL, they also have their own differences, emphasizing their speedy transition.
Rangers’ starting lineup is also clear for the most part, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst commented that the team is aiming for a match more similar to the one played in Ibrox and not to the first leg in Germany.
Allan Mcgregor will start on goal and will be guarded by a line of four formed by captain James Tavernier, center-backs Connor Goldson, and Calvin Bassey, leaving the left flank for Borna Barisic, who had a drill during the last training session in Seville focused on the build-up movements and openings.
John Lundstram will start as a part of the double six in midfield, but will likely reprise his role dropping in between Bassey and Goldson.
Ryan Jack seems like the probable starter alongside Lundstram in the midfield, while the always decisive Ryan Kent will be playing in the left wing.
Aaron Ramsey is fit but given his recent recovery, along with the performance and the comments made today by Van Bronckhorst about Kamara, seems to be like the Finnish player has his name in the starting lineup.
Here comes the real doubt, as Van Bronckhorst does not have any other proper number 9 he might take the risk of starting with Roofe while playing Joe Adoleye-Aribo on the right; the other possibility is starting with either Fashion Sakala or Scott Wright.
Roofe’s addition to the starting XI not only generates a morale and quality boost for the Scottish side, but also adds a range of versatility to Rangers’ attacks.
The English forward allows Rangers to go long, either for him to produce a second ball or to attack the spaces behind the line, or to create combinations and overloads in a more set attack.
James Tavernier will try to go up as much as he can, but it is expected for him to be a bit more conservative and have a role similar to the one against Angeliño; Trying to push as much without losing sight of the lethal Kostic.
John Lundstram will drop between the center-backs, thus allowing them to chase and mark tightly both attacking midfielders in Kamada and Lindstrom/Hauge.
Glen Kamara and his movements will be key to moving the chains of Frankfurt’s defense, especially creating doubts around the pair Rode-Saw and the center backs.
Die Adler must be very aware of Kamara’s positioning, as him wandering around freely between the half-spaces and the spaces in between the midfield and defensive lines is a great danger, as he could create confusion on who’s stepping up to mark him.
Defensively, Rangers will also wait in a middle block just before the halfway line; inviting Eintracht to attack them either going for a pass to Santos Borre or behind the defense or a through pass to one of the midfielders down the inner halls, right where the Scottish side can quickly trap them.
They must execute this almost to perfection, any loose mark or uncoordinated pressing will create a space in which Frankfurt will explode, through, especially if Rangers are pressing a bit high.
It will definitely be a high voltage match, played with as much passion on the pitch as in the stands, with probably a few jabs to try each other in the first minutes, and where the team that control the game and their emotions the better will win.
There’s an old saying that says not many finals are quality matches, but they’re amazingly beautiful in their own way.
More about the match
More about the teams
Bayern updates: Rangers and FCB have arrangement in place for Tillman, Napoli president says Osimhen is staying put