HIt would be a long time, that was more than obvious. “The way I got to know Eintracht Frankfurt this year, they are so well organized – especially when it comes to parties,” said Marcus Croce, the new sporting director who joined last summer, when it was just after 1 am. In the end it continued even after sunrise, for the time being and only in the last place in Seville. Because in Frankfurt on Thursday hundreds of thousands were waiting for the Europa League winners to return.
Their declared favorite competition, which players, club and fans were flattered by words and deeds – and now they have already won.
On the grass at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, coach Oliver Glasner slipped through his players’ trellis to hand the trophy. It rained gold tinsel, then the club DJ took over. The old club anthem was played, as “Deutsche Bank Park” can still be called Waldstadion. And Gaga’s wonderfully adorable song “Mercy, Hes Comes” from Neue Deutsche Welle. The players conducted the first interviews. Captain Sebastian Roode still had dry blood from the early-stage collision stuck to his forehead, despite all the sweat, like the cup of that unforgettable, unforgettable evening.
Frankfurt ran 151.9 kilometers
Yes, they finally won three hours into the match, and who thought it would be easy? The final against Glasgow Rangers “was not a game where one outdid the other,” said club president Peter Fischer. But one of two teams with limits in football, but without limits in their hearts, impressively generous in attitude, devoid of disposition and accompanied by a referee who barely whistled anything and still given plenty of stoppage time, after 45 minutes, after 90, after 105 And after 120. A game in which Frankfurt alone ran a total distance of 151.9 kilometers in the sweltering heat of Seville and after a long season.
‘What you’ve always dreamed of as a kid’: That’s how 20-year-old Ansgar Knauf, who has never really aged, summed up the emotional world after Rafael Puri converted the decisive penalty for Eintracht. “It’s good that the trip doesn’t end now, but it will continue next year,” Knauf added. Then Eintracht Frankfurt will play in the Champions League. Ranked in the first pot as one of the winners of the European League, such as Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.
The journey, the way. Our Way: Words like this keep getting mixed up in the analyses. They just don’t fit in because of the crowd’s enthusiasm for commuting, which shaped the European Cup dance and saw a new high point in Seville with countless crowds (as are the Scots).
Rarely does a continental club come from as far away as Eintracht. In 1980 she had won her last and only international title, the European Cup. After that, she initially played for the tournament with great football, not forgetting about the uncrowned teams around Uwe Bean, Andy Muller and Anthony Yepoha. But soon he went down the slopes to the second degree. A laborious rebuilding ensued, as the “temperamental diva” once seemed more boring than ever on the outside, but reconciled with herself on the inside and stirred up an unseen love in the city. The title in Seville was won by a club that knows exactly what it wants to be.
The team also had to negotiate several bends. She continued to change her face. If a player excels, they usually go somewhere else soon. Less than half of the team that unfortunately lost on penalties in the Europa League semi-final against Chelsea three years ago are still with the club. At the time, the superb attacking trio of Ante Rebek, Sebastian Haller and Luka Jovic seemed to have missed the opportunity of the century. Will you ever have a team like this again?
Historical Justice has now produced a team of extraordinary suspects. There was someone like Knauf, who fell into his fortune as a player on loan from Dortmund after the winter break. There were substitutes who formed an emergency defense in overtime that was never there and never will come back. And there were the two winners of the match in particular: the man in the back and the man in the front.
Kevin Trapp – International
For years, Kevin Trapp has been like number three on the national team in the public eye. Strong guard, nice guy, no problems. When he wanted to get out of his position and switch to a flamboyant Paris Saint-Germain, he suffered a historic 6-1 loss to Barcelona in 2017 and the club’s big adventure soon came to an end.
This season, by advancing to the quarter-finals at the same venue at the Camp Nou, he’s clearly expelled the demons he had set aside long ago. Otherwise you can’t hold out like he’s been doing all along. In Seville, he confirmed his central role for Eintracht with an almost supernatural save in the 118th minute against Ryan Kent, who appeared nearby. Not only solid, but world-class.
The fact that he would save at least one penalty in the next shootout – all Frankfurt confirmed this confidence in their goalkeeper afterwards: he gave the shooters a lot of safety. The saved penalty ended up being Aaron Ramsey’s fourth. In the end, only Rafael Buri had to sign up.
Bury scored, just as in his darkest moments after trailing 1-0 in the near corner to equalise. The striker was the other hero among the champions, because, of course, “we are all of us,” Trapp emphasized, but anyone should score the decisive goals. And only Puri did not believe so many, not this season and not before.
The professional himself later stated that the place in the final made the victory even more special for him. “My career in Europe started at a very young age in Spain. A lot of people didn’t think I was ready for moments like this.” Atlético Madrid bought him when he was 19, and then never gave him a chance.
He ended up in South America after an unproductive loan spell at Villarreal. He won the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of the Champions League, with Argentine club River Plate, and proved to be one of the continent’s top scorers. It was such a hit for Frankfurt that they could get it for free in the summer. But the differences in level between South America and Europe are now very large. Puri didn’t hit much. Adaptation problems only or nothing for Europe? Doubts were targeted with two goals in Barcelona and against West Ham United in the semi-finals. I smashed the final against Rangers.
Trapp, Bure, model provider Philip Kostik, Ruud, Knauf and whatever their names are: They’ve won their first European Championship of the current millennium, which goes to Germany but not to Bayern Munich. And if they are underestimated, what about their coach. Glasner – Austrian who came from Wolfsburg. In the German league, Eintracht did not change his place. But in the European League against teams of Barcelona’s caliber, as well as from Betis, Sevilla and West Ham, it presented itself perfectly tactically.
As a minor candidate, Frankfurt found it more difficult against the Scots. Working on the game’s dominant culture remains one of the new era challenges for the Lostopf-eins-Champions-League-Club Eintracht Frankfurt team. But finals like the one on Wednesday will win. You don’t have to worry about the party afterwards. Especially in Frankfurt.