German football's 25-year-drought in the Europa Cup is over!
Germany will also get five UEFA Champions' League representatives next season after Eintracht Frankfurt prevailed over Glasgow Rangers 5-4 on penalties at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Sevilla on Wednesday night.
The German Eagles of the country's financial capital take their first European title in 41 years with the victory.
|Kevin Trapp.||Photo: Werner100359, CC BY-SA 4.0|
In an extremely nervy match on Wednesday night in Sevilla, German Bundesliga representatives Eintracht Frankfurt took the 2021/22 Europa League crown with a 5-4 PSO win over Glasgow Rangers. A 1-1 deadlock could not be broken after 120 minutes. The Frankfurt hero of the fixture was definitely keeper Kevin Trapp. The German national team gloveman made an excellent save late on to ensure the match went down to penalties. Trapp then made the lone save of the shootout.
As expected, Eintracht trainer Oliver Glasner stuck with the exact same XI and formation as in the weekend fixture against Mainz. The lone change involved inserting Jesper Lindstrøm into the place of Jens Petter Hauge. The Danish attacker, sidelined by a hamstring injury recently, was finally passed fit shortly before the match.
A start with some pace about it was quickly interrupted when Rangers midfielder John Lundstram inadvertently caught Sebastian Rode on the forehead with a high boot in the 4th. The SGE captain needed extended treatment for a cleat-cut that bled profusely. After a five minute delay, Rode was able to continue with a turban and a fresh jersey.
Daichi Kamada and Djibril Sow were able to create a little danger with a double chance three minutes after play resumed in the 9th. Rangers keeper Allan McGregor was on point to keep handle both efforts safely. The German Eagles were able to press forward via Lindstrøm, Ansgar Knauff, and Rafael Santos Borré over the next eight minutes.
Coordination issues still precluded any clear cut chances from emerging until the 20th, when Knauff forced McGregor into a save with a nice flick towards goal from the right. Sow and Evan N'dicka would put efforts wide in the frantic next few minutes as the Germans racked up a 7-0 shot advantage. The Scots got their first look at goal in the 26th. Lead striker Joe Aribo spun a ranged effort wide.
Frankfurt continued to maintain an advantage in terms of chances. Filip Kositc put a strike onto the top netting at the half-hour-mark, flashing wide two minutes later. At the other end, Lundstram finally forced SGE keeper Kevin Trapp into a fingertip save with a close-range header in the 36th. There was some more fluency to the Glaswegian game as the first-half drew to a close. Aribo shaved the woodwork at 45+2.
Through six minutes of first-half injury time, however, the Hesseners were able to mostly win control of the game back. Glasner's men entered the dressing room with an 11-3 shot advantage. The fact that few of the chances were truly dangerous--combined with a solid physical game from the Scots--did still leave the 0-0 scoreline feeling a fair result.
Eintracht picked up right where they had left off after the restart. The Germans played forward with ambition. A Lindstrøm effort in the 49th, deflected by Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack, narrowly missed the open net after McGregor had committed the other way. Pressure by the SGE nevertheless began to steadily subside and, in the 57th, the Scots made Frankfurt pay for their profligacy.
A series of unfortunate events for led to the opening goal. A long launch by Trapp was immediately sent back towards goal after an aerial win. Sow ended up accidentally diverting the ball directly into the path of a streaking Aribo. Frankfurt defender Tuta appeared to trip over his own feet, enabling the Glasgow striker to stride into the box unmarked.
Aribo cooly slotted past Trapp for the 1-0. Things were not looking good at all for the Germans as Tuta immediately had to be subbed off for the no-contact injury. With defensive stalwart Martin Hinteregger already unavailable due to a season-ending injury, 38-year-old Makoto Hasebe had to come on to save the day as the anchoring pivot in Glasner's back-three.
Eintracht were able to manufacture a few chances in search of the equalizer. Rangers defender Calvin Bassey skillfully chested away a Lindstrøm laser in the 59th. A Kamada attempt to lift the ball over an onrushing McGregor in the 67th regrettably ended up resting on the roof of the net. After such fantastic chances didn't make it in, the 1-1 came on a rather modest and unsuspecting play in the 69th.
Kostic sent in a simple ground square in Borré's direction. The Colombian took advantage of some slightly slack marking from Bassey to poach a close finish from about five meters out central. Substitutions and stoppages impeded the flow of the match over the next ten minutes, with both sides seemingly content to conserve their energy for the finish. Energy existed down the stretch. Gambles did not.
Both sides made an effort to paint around the box in the final ten minutes. There remained a sense of caution to the attack approaches at both ends. Actors from neither side appeared willing risk making any mistakes. One exception came in the 89th, when Kostic tried to beat McGregor with a sniper cross shot from just inside the left of the 18. The lashed effort did not miss the far post by much.
There were two half-chances for the Germans during the first-period of extra-time. Borré nearly took full advantage of a Calvin Bassey slip in the 95th, but the Nigerian international recovered in time to tackle away. Knauff, also working against Bassey in the 110th, saw a shot blocked by the resolute Glaswegian defender.
The second half of extra-time began with some pep. Glasgow's Borna Barisic stung Trapp's palms with a rifled effort in the 106th. SGE sub Ajdin Hrustic pulled a snapshot from just outside the area just wide seconds later. Kent and the subbed on Kristijan Jakic traded distance efforts with five minutes to play.
Penalties were ensured in the last minutes courtesy of two solid stops from SGE keeper Trapp. The German national team net-minder made an incredible save on Kent after a brilliant Kemar Roofe cutback in the 118th, then held a nicely bent-around-the-wall James Tavernier free-kick on the last play of the game at 120+1.
Welsh national team mainstay Aaron Ramsey was the unfortunate flunked of the shootout. All nine players from both sides converted. Ramsey opted to go central and flat in the penultimate round. Trapp committed slightly to his right, but was still able to stop Ramsey's spot kick with his foot. Borré maintained his cool to covert the winning try.
|35||L. Melo ↪58|
|2||E. N'Dicka ↪100|
|17||S. Rode (C) ↪90|
|8||D. Sow ↪106|
|29||J. Lindstrøm ↪70|
|19||R. Borré ⚽|
|23||J. Hauge ↩70|
|20||M. Hasebe ↩58|
|24||D. da Costa|
|25||C. Lenz ↩100|
|6||K. Jakić ↩90|
|7||A. Hrustic ↩106|
|2||J. Tavernier (C)|
|31||B. Barišić ↪117|
|8||R. Jack ↪74|
|18||G. Kamara ↪91|
|23||S. Wright ↪74|
|17||J. Aribo ⚽ ↪101|
|25||K. Roofe ↩117|
|30||F. Sakala ↩74 ↪117|
|10||S. Davis ↩74|
|16||A. Ramsey ↩117|
|19||J. Sands ↩101|
|37||S. Arfield ↩91|