Europa Conference League
1 - 2
(0 - 0)
Union Saint-Gilloise
E. Ebimbe (87)
C. Puertas (47), D. Eckert (80)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Frankfurt fight-back comes too late as SGE exit Europe

Germany's 2021/22 Europa League Champions have been eliminated from Europe following a defeat at home to Belgian guests Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday evening. 

Dino Toppmöller's Eintracht Frankfurt failed to advance beyond the 2023/24 Europa Conference League playoffs courtesy of a 3-4 aggregate scoreline. 
A late attempt at a comeback proved insufficient for Dino Toppmöller's Eintracht Frankfurt at Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday evening. The German Eagles of the country's commercial capital were unable to replicate the success of their fellow European representatives SC Freiburg a little earlier in the evening. After drawing their away leg at Belgium's Union St. Gilloise last week, the home loss is enough to see Eintracht out of the UECL competition on aggregate.

SGE trainer Toppmöller made three changes to the XI that drew Freiburg 3-3 on Sunday. Ansgar Knauff stepped in for the critically injured Sasa Kalajdzic, who has been ruled out for the season with an ACL rupture. In addition, Robin Koch (available for Europe after being suspended in the league) and Niels Nkounkou took the place of Makoto Hasebe and Philipp Max.

Not much transpired in a first half characterized by intense midfield duels and too sides averse to taking too many risks following their 2-2 draw in the opening leg one week ago. Eintracht attacker Fares Chaibi produced the best chance of the opening 45 off a free-kick shortly before it was time to head into the tunnel. The overall level of play improved after the restart.

The Belgian guests were unfortunately the ones to strike via Cameron Puerta's 1-0 in the 47th. Union Saint-Gilloise played it conservatively in the aftermath of the goal skillfully playing keep-way from their hosts by letting the ball circulate through their ranks. Toppmöller brought on Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe and French striker Hugo Ekitike just after the hour-mark in the hopes of reinvigorating his team.

Some artifice moves from the likes of Ekitike and Omar Marmoush nevertheless didn't produce any real quality scoring chances. Union SG looked the more likely team to score ten minutes from time when Dennis Eckert Ayensa doubled the advantage in the 80th. The goal came off a corner that - very annoyingly from Frankfurt's point of view shouldn't have been awarded.

To their credit, the RheinMain Adler did fight back. Substitute Ebimbe scored the 1-2 with a lovely diving header in the 87th. Chaibi earned an assist credit for what was an equally lovely cross. A 57,000 strong crowd at Deutsche Bank Park did their best to will their team into scoring an equalizer, but there would be no further dangerous from Toppmöller's side.

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