German clubs contesting the 2023/24 UEFA Europa and UEFA Europa Conference League are off to winning starts after winning their respective group stage matches on Thursday evening. Eintracht Frankfurt (hosting FC Aberdeen) and Bayer 04 Leverkusen (hosting BK Häcken) took all three points at home.
SGE trainer Toppmöller made four changes to the XI that drew VfL Bochum 1-1 on Saturday night. Hrvoje Smolcic, Paxten Aaronson, Sebastian Rode, and Omar Marmoush took the place of Tuta, Hugo Larsson, Aurelio Buta, and Jessic Ngankam. Toppmöller maintained the 3-5-2 shape from the league fixture, through there appeared to be no major split-staggers. The RheinMain Adler played in front of a sold out crowd at Deutsche Bank Park.
After a largely uneventful 10 minutes, the German hosts were awarded a penalty when Jack MacKenzie felled Dina Ebimbe in the area. Marmoush stepped forward to convert the early 1-0. The Scottish guests remained defensive despite ceding the advantage and it did come as a surprise to see an equalizer scored against the run-of-play. A misplayed pass out of the back from Ellyes Skhiri enabled Dante Polvara to score the 1-1 in the 22nd.
Frankfurt lorded over upwards of 80 percent possession during the duration of the half, yet couldn't find a way past Barry Robson's deep-seated ranks. No chances of note came. Toppmöller attempted to shake things up at the half with a double substitution. Ngankam and Fares Chaibi came on for Götze and Aaronson. Rode already had to exit in favor of Larsson due to injury. Marmoush moved back to Götze's spot while Ngankam played alone up top.
Eintracht continued to struggle in open play after the break, but were able to re-take the lead off a corner. Defender Robin Koch headed home Chaibi's service from the flag in the 61st. Toppmöller's side mostly withdrew after regaining the advantage, defending in numbers to ensure that their guests wouldn't find another chance to equalize.
Elsewhere in the Bundesrepublik on Thursday evening, Bayer 04 Leverkusen played host to Swedish side BK Häcken in their 2023/24 Europa League group stage opener. A little farther north from Frankfurt, Xabi Alonso's Werkself easily dispatched their Scandinavian guests 4-0. Florian Wirtz, Amine Adli, Victor Boniface, and Jonas Hofmann registered tallies in the win.