Whe wanted to find out something about the most important date of the season for the Frankfurt team in their final working week, all he had to do was listen to the loud-voiced Eintracht supporters in the Mainz football arena on Saturday. They fervently announced the dominant theme from the stands: “Europe crowns the champions – SGE!” chanted the enthusiastic fans shortly before the end of the Bundesliga match, which ended 2-2 on the last day.
And with the battle cry “Finale ohoho!” almost in a continuous loop, the Eintracht professionals were then sent into the dressing room with a flourish. The Europa League final this Wednesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Europa League and on RTL) in Seville against Glasgow Rangers, which is supposed to literally crown the season for the Hessians, can come.
His heart has been beating “for almost two weeks,” said midfielder Djibril Sow of his feelings. “We can hardly wait. I’m more looking forward to it than I’m tense.” The Swiss national player is directing his emotions in the right direction with regard to the route outlined by Oliver Glasner. “We’re looking forward to the high point of the season,” said the Eintracht coach. “The most important thing is that we look at ourselves and show the spirit, the passion, the intensity that we found today on Wednesday.”
After a “cruel” start to the game and a 1-0 lead for Mainz, Frankfurt, who were initially rather lazy, pulled themselves together and then went 2-1 up thanks to goals from Tuta (25th minute) and Rafael Borré (35th). before Mainz’s Marcus Ingvartsen equalized in the 49th minute with his second goal in front of 33,000 spectators.
The final showdown with the Rangers on the way to ascending the throne in the Europa League is Glasner’s biggest and most important game in his coaching career so far. The 47-year-old Austrian has never been in an international final. Nevertheless, in the days before the planned summit attempt, he exemplifies serenity. It might sound “a bit stupid,” Glasner said, “but it’s very important that we don’t make it bigger than it is. Of course it’s a final, but it’s still a football game.”
As in the previous knockout duels, it was crucial “to get our strengths back on the pitch,” emphasized the coach. “It’s all in our heads and in our bodies. Now it’s time to build up this joy, this enthusiasm, this passion.” And finally, greetings from the top as the proud new title holder.
Glasner’s players shouldn’t go crazy these days. Distraction in the right lanes is allowed and desired. For example, the coach watched the Eintracht women’s game against Werder Bremen on Sunday. “We can’t just sit at home and think about the Rangers for hours.” It’s “similar to high school,” said Glasner. “You’re either prepared or you’re not. If not, it doesn’t help to cram everything into yourself in the last few days.”
No trace of panic before the sporting master’s exam. Since Eintracht has built up their skills for the Europa League step by step with great success in this round, they will not change their processes just because the all-important test is now pending, which the Hessians will hoist into the Champions League if successful will. Which would be a milestone for the club in sporting and economic terms. Glasner’s team is expected to hold the final training session in Frankfurt from 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday as well – just like before the duels with West Ham United and FC Barcelona.
When Glasner was asked after the work in Mainz with a view to Seville why his team would not complete the final training session in the final stadium, he answered with a grin on his face: “We have informed ourselves. It’s green grass there too. 105 by 68 meters tall. The goals are 7.32 by 2.44 meters if I remember the measurements correctly – nothing different than usual.” Glasner was quick-witted and witty as so often. After the practice session in familiar surroundings, the coach and team will fly to Seville.
Borré is the only player in the Frankfurt squad to have won an international title – with Argentina’s River Plate, the Colombian international secured the 2018 Copa Libertadores. “We now have to take the final step and tackle the final against Rangers as we always do: highly concentrated and with the confidence that we can do it,” said the striker.
His colleague and captain Sebastian Rode can look back on twelve appearances in the Champions League and 32 in the Europa League. Despite his 1a positions at Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, “this European Cup trip with Eintracht is the most phenomenal thing in my career”. Reaching the final ranks the midfielder higher than anything he has done so far. “For me as a Hesse boy, it would be unique to raise the trophy,” says Rode.
As impressive as Eintracht’s appearance in the Europa League is, showing interest in Bochum striker Sebastian Polter, their performance in eleventh place in the Bundesliga with their worst season in five years is just as disappointing. But nobody wanted to hear about that on Saturday. The calls for the desired Europa League success dominated the chants of the Eintracht fans. The team will hear this again in Seville, 2300 kilometers away.
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