Europa League: Frankfurt in the final: This is how Eintracht became a European power

Oliver Glasner (47) had to wait nine months for his European Cup baptism at Eintracht: “I’ve heard a lot about these magical nights, but I’ve never experienced a sold-out stadium here because of Corona,” he said disappointed at the time.

At least since the quarter-final home game against FC Barcelona (1-1) in front of an unleashed 48,000 fans and the 3-2 sensation in the second leg with 30,000 Frankfurt supporters in Camp Nou, the coach has been electrified: “This power comes from the enthusiasm of the fans , the whole city. The Barcelona game created extreme hype. You can’t go anywhere without being asked about Barcelona, ​​without someone saying, ‘Hey, I was there too…’”

42 years after winning the Uefa Cup with world champions Grabowski and Hölzenbein, with stars like Nickel, Pezzey and Bum-kun Cha, Frankfurt is back in a European final. On May 18 in Seville against Glasgow Rangers. The competition, which was once the “Losers’ Cup” for Franz Beckenbauer, is lived and celebrated in Frankfurt. And not just since this season…

Three years ago, Eintracht stormed into the semifinals against Chelsea with the goal-loving Büffel-Sturm (Jovic, Rebic, Haller) – and were eliminated on penalties after a dramatic 3:4. Well over 3,000 people from Frankfurt sneaked into the stadium on Stamford Bridge. 12,000 were previously in the round of 16 at Milan’s Meazza Stadium against Inter.

Even for the first group game in Marseille, a few thousand traveled illegally to France at the time – because Uefa Olympique punished them with a ghost game and the prefecture of Marseille even ordered the Frankfurters to be banned from the city. Already in 2013 under ex-coach Armin Veh, who had led Eintracht to the Europa League as a promoted player, 13,000 Frankfurters were in orange at the game in Bordeaux.

Board spokesman Axel Hellmann (50) says with conviction: “Actually, we and our fans saved this Uefa competition.” A competition that many did not want or did not take seriously.

But in Frankfurt no coach complains about the double burden. Competitors like Freiburg’s Christian Streich already paid tribute to ex-coach Adi Hütter and the Frankfurt players because they put in an unparalleled feat every three days.

The Europa League also means a double profit for Eintracht: the club has collected 25 million euros from bonuses and spectators alone. But the European Cup also means reputation: the mood of the fans arouses admiration across Europe and inspires – as in 2019 – all of Germany.

However, the European power of Eintracht is not entirely new: as early as 1960, Frankfurt was the first German team to storm into the final against Real Madrid (3:7), and it was voted the best final of all time. Eintracht was the first club after the war to travel to the USA in 1951 and used the donations from there to build the club premises in Riederwald.


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