Eintracht Frankfurt has already given German football fans many magical nights this Europa League season - will the crowning glory follow in the final against Rangers this Wednesday (9 p.m. live on RTL, on RTL and in the live ticker on ntv.de)? Against the Scottish record champions, who eliminated BVB and RB Leipzig on their way to the final, it will also and especially again depend on some outstanding heads of the Frankfurt hussar ride on the big European stage. The most important protagonists of the unity miracle.
The 31-year-old has been guarding the Eintracht Frankfurt goal since 2012 - with a three-year break during his guest appearance at Paris Saint-Germain. During this time, Trapp not only advanced to become one of the best German goalkeepers, but is also the undisputed leading player in the SGE. In the Europa League, the six-time national goalkeeper has played every minute this season. He particularly shone in the legendary 3-2 in the second leg of the quarter-finals at FC Barcelona with an extremely strong performance. "We absolutely deserved the final and now we want to make our big dream come true," Trapp told uefa.com.
In the Bundesliga, "Hinti" did not deliver as reliably as usual this season. But his performances in the Europa League were all the more impressive. In both quarter-final duels against Barça, the 29-year-old Austrian was one of the best Frankfurters. Bitter: He will miss the team in the final due to a hamstring injury. "I think they will be able to handle it in my position because we have really excellent defenders," Hinteregger said in an interview on the club's website.
Whether the veteran will ever appear again for the SBU is anyone's guess. Hinteregger's contract runs until 2024, but according to "Sport Bild" he is on an internal sales list because of his high annual salary.
If you had to name an outstanding player at Eintracht Frankfurt, it would (also) be without a doubt Filip Kostic this season. The 29-year-old Serb nominally acts as a left rail player in the 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 system of the Hessians. Actually, Kostic is something like a goalscorer, playmaker and interceptor all in one.
His Europa League statistics include three goals and three assists. He also conquered 79 balls, the third best value of all players in the competition. The great FC Barcelona also felt Kostic's extra class: in the Frankfurt 3-2 gala at the Camp Nou he scored two goals himself and prepared the third.
The ugly theater around Kostic's planned move to Lazio Rome in the summer of 2021 has long been forgotten in Frankfurt given these performances. Nevertheless, there are currently rumors about him leaving again, especially since his contract expires in 2023.
With the loan of the U21 national player from Borussia Dortmund, the SBU leadership around sports director Markus Krösche had a real stroke of luck in the winter. Knauff immediately became a regular player and top performer. His goal in the semi-final first leg against West Ham after 49 seconds was the earliest in Frankfurt's European history. He also scored in the second leg against Barca.
"Another component" brings Knauff, who also convinces with serious defensive work, into the Eintracht game, enthused Krösche. Coach Oliver Glasner praised the newcomer's "pace" and "depth". "He runs strong and attacks the spaces behind the chain."
Eleven goals in 95 Bundesliga games, but just as many in 22 Europa League games: A look at the statistics quickly makes it clear why the Japanese can adorn himself with the honorary title "Mr. Europacup" in Frankfurt. This season, Kamada is the most accurate SGE professional on the international stage with five goals, and also secured an entry in the history books as the best Asian goalscorer ever in Europa League history.
Sports boss Krösche knows the secret of the success of the 25-year-old "space interpreter" with the unmistakable instinct for the dangerous zones on the pitch: "Daichi is particularly good at turning up the heat in the gaps. This is how he creates new offensive actions. That's what sets him apart." As with Hinteregger and Kostic, there is also a lot of speculation about Kamada's future. One thing is clear: If he does not extend his contract, which expires in 2023, he should be sold this summer.
Glasner's move from VfL Wolfsburg to Frankfurt last summer could not trigger any euphoria in the Main metropolis - even though he had just reached the Champions League with Lower Saxony. Twelve months later, Glasner could lead the SBU to their second European Cup title and thus one of the greatest successes in the club's history.
The Austrian quickly instilled his idea of football in his team. Dissonances due to the mixed performance in the Bundesliga successfully faded out Glasner and Co. "He's a great coach, he has a very good connection to the team and always finds the right words to motivate us," said the high-flyer Knauff the "kicker".
Glasner not only let "Eintracht play down their boots, but also adjusts the tactics, he tries to simulate the opponent during training during the week," praised ex-coach Niko Kovac, who won the DFB Cup with Eintracht in 2018 Interview of the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung".