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Europe: Champions League
2 - 1
(2 - 1)
D. Kamada (3), R. Kolo (27)
M. Guendouzi (22)

Frankfurt defeat Marseille to set up thrilling Group D finale

By Ultan Corcoran   @UltanCorcoran

Although ‘Die Adler’ came into Matchday 5’s clash rooted to the bottom of Group D, they knew a win tonight would propel them to second provided other results went their way. Having dispatched Gladbach 1-3 on the weekend, Oliver Glasner would be hopeful that is team could continue that form into Europe to close the gap ahead of the final matchday. Tuta’s suspension, as well as injuries to Hasebe and Knauff left Glasner with a slightly weakened hand ahead of the first whistle. Fortunately, Frankfurt was able to get over the line with goals coming from Kamada and Kolo Muani either side of Guendouzi’s equaliser.
Daichi Kamada.
Daichi Kamada.Photo: Sven Mandel, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
In the smoke-filled Commerzbank-Arena, Eintracht Frankfurt took all of three minutes to make the ideal start when Kamada put his side 1-0 up. Ndicka roamed forward up the left touchline to deliver a low cross infield. Lindstrøm played a pivotal role in creating the goal, allowing the ball pass through his legs while Kamada controlled and finished with aplomb. Götze came within a hair’s breadth of bagging Frankfurt’s second goal of the night when he headed wide from Lindstrøm’s chipped delivery. Capitalising on Balerdi’s poor back pass, Lenz was afforded a great opportunity to score however Pau Lopez dug his side out of trouble.

Just as Frankfurt felt they should have been two or three up, Marseille levelled matters against the run of play. Mbemba’s cross from the right was met perfectly by Guendouzi, smashing home from six yards and levelling matters. Nonetheless Frankfurt didn’t freeze up or become disheartened. Just before the half-hour mark Kolo Muani restored the host’s advantage. A beautifully worked one-two with Mario Götze enabled Muani to whip the ball under the unsighted Lopez. At the other end, Smolićić did a fine job of defending Nuno Tavares’ cross which was destined to be turned home at the far post by the lurking Sanchez. Trapp’s fine save on ex-Schalke player Amine Harit was enough to maintain Die Adler’s lead at the break.

While the second half took on an end-to-end approach, it was without doubt the French side who were beginning to threaten more. A freekick left of the penalty area was struck by Sanchez and had to be acrobatically dealt with by Trapp. Marseille introduced another former Schalke man in Sead Kolašinac on the hour mark. Sebastian Rode was readied for action not long after as Glasner hoped to shore up in midfield. Frankfurt very much content with sitting in and hoping to add to their lead on the break.

Nuno Tavares looked increasingly threatening all second half and gave Frankfurt their biggest scare of the second half on 77 minutes. The Portuguese full-back raided forward and struck for goal, narrowly dragging his shot wide with Trapp rooted to the spot. Alidou and Borré replaced Dina-Ebimbe and the hard running Kolo Muani with ten minutes to play. Borré attempted to put a seal on tonight’s match when he got on the end of fellow substitute Alidou’s delivery. The Colombian could only shoot down the throat of Pau Lopez.

Three minutes of injury time were played as the Frankfurt faithful willed their side over the line for a valuable win. Tottenham’s late draw with Sporting Lisbon leaves Frankfurt in 3rd position with only their Matchday 6 meeting with Sporting to go. A visit to the Portuguese capital means a win is required for Die Adler to progress to the Champions League knockout rounds.

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