Eintracht's European hero Trapp: The only guy who makes Manuel Neuer stressful

Eintracht Frankfurt's entry into the Europa League final is closely linked to the name Kevin Trapp.

Eintracht's European hero Trapp: The only guy who makes Manuel Neuer stressful

Eintracht Frankfurt's entry into the Europa League final is closely linked to the name Kevin Trapp. The goalkeeper is a safe support and also presents himself as a real leader off the pitch. That could also bring the 31-year-old forward with national coach Hansi Flick.

Twelve goals in twelve games. What sounds like an outstanding rate for a striker is Kevin Trapp's. That's how many goals the Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper conceded in the Europa League. His team only kept a clean sheet twice internationally, initially not a particularly noteworthy statistic. A good one, of course - final opponents Glasgow Rangers conceded 15 goals in the tournament - but not one that makes you rub your eyes in total amazement. Nevertheless, the Bundesliga team is in the final - and this success is closely linked to Kevin Trapp.

The 31-year-old is highly praised and unchallenged. "Kevin is the best in the Bundesliga at the moment! Better than Manuel Neuer because he just has a run," said the admittedly not entirely objective Frankfurt goalkeeper Uli Stein of the "Bild" newspaper. And the even less impartial Frankfurt sports director Markus Krösche said: "Kevin is an incredibly important player for us, who is playing an outstanding season again this year. For me, he is currently the best German goalkeeper." Trapp has only missed two games in the league, in Europe he has the full 1110 minutes of game time. The season got off to a mixed start.

In the DFB Cup, Frankfurt failed in the first round at third division Waldhof Mannheim, in the Bundesliga there was a 5-2 defeat against Borussia Dortmund, followed by a total of six draws - five in the league, one in the group stage of the Europa League against Fenerbahçe. Criticism arose until Trapp in particular showed a new side on the seventh match day against FC Bayern. An unbelievable one, as he almost drove Munich to despair when he simply nailed the goal in Eintracht's 2-1 victory. It was the decisive turnaround, since then Trapp has been playing at the top level, is extremely present in the penalty area, sometimes shines with top saves, steers his team from behind and not only shows leadership with the captain's armband.

He also deserves credit for reaching the Europa League final against Glasgow Rangers. In the second leg of the semi-final against West Ham United, he was the one who paid attention and had strong nerves in the tense final phase. When the English didn't want to give up, he caught ball after ball and secured his team's 1-0 victory. It was "the best game and the best day of my career," enthused the 31-year-old in front of his own fans after reaching the final. "Until today" was the important caveat in advance.

Because the goalkeeper of Eintracht can hope to surpass the feeling of happiness again. In the final in Seville. "We've made an incredibly beautiful journey in the Europa League, so of course we're proud of what we've achieved so far," he told ntv/RTL. "It triggers a lot of anticipation and euphoria, what we're experiencing right now, but we still have a game to go."

The Europa League at the end of the last Bundesliga season was actually a disappointment, only the consolation prize after an above-average season under coach Adi Hütter, who then left the club for Borussia Mönchengladbach. The missed Champions League, it gnawed at the team and the fans. But it turned out to be a stroke of luck.

With three wins and three draws, the Hessians played confidently as winners through the group stage in a group with Olympiakos Piraeus, Fenerbahce Istanbul and Royal Antwerpen FC. As the first in the table, they were able to skip the intermediate round directly and were only challenged again in the round of sixteen. Eintracht got a taste of Seville in that one, but played against Betis in a different way than they did in the final, which is being played at Sevilla FC's Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. After a 2:1 away and a 1:1 at home, the quarterfinals were secured. The supposed hammer lot FC Barcelona triggered on the one hand uneasiness and on the other hand pure euphoria.

What survived was more than pure euphoria: Complete ecstasy, exuberant escalation of happiness at the Camp Nou, when after the 3-2 win in the second leg only the more than 25,000 Frankfurt fans celebrated with their team. Against West Ham in the semi-finals, all dams finally broke at home. Trapp and Co. are still one step away from the cup, from victory in the Europa League. "It's not that it's all over now, it's the most important game of the year that we've worked towards."

A victory that would also mean qualification for the Champions League. Unlike internationally, it was only mediocre for Eintracht in the league. Eleventh place means: no Europe in the coming season without a final win. It is what most people interested in football want from the club, across clubs. Eintracht took almost everyone with her. With the fans of Eintracht, "who were and are able to electrify the whole of Germany", celebrating the European Cup victory "would really be something very special," emphasizes Trapp to ntv / RTL.

By winter at the latest, the last fans in Germany could be cheering for him. Namely, when Trapp plays with the DFB team at the World Cup. Well, he probably won't be allowed to play, so despite Stein's and Krösche's convictions, he can't get past Neuer. But Trapp has a good chance of getting at least one of the three places in the squad. In a duel with Marc-André ter Stegen and Bernd Leno. Even if national coach Hansi Flick gave preference to Leno in the World Cup qualifier against Romania last October with the reason: "We have a clear ranking." In which Trapp was led at number four.

But that was before the clear increase in performance Trapps, who had apparently taken the announcement of the national coach to heart. "Everyone knows my ambitions and goals. The basis for this is good performance in the club," Trapp said. In addition, Leno is no longer able to play at Arsenal FC and had to cede his position as a regular goalkeeper to Aaron Ramsdale. And ter Stegen will miss the upcoming Nations League games. According to Flick, the FC Barcelona goalkeeper is given an “important and meaningful” time-out. He counts him "among the best goalkeepers in the world". Time that Trapp could use for himself when it comes to Italy, England and Hungary.

With performance on the pitch - and with his ability as a team player, which they praise in Frankfurt. Trapp is "extremely important as a guy" and leads "the boys in the dressing room," says Krösche. Of course, he doesn't have to prove his talent for languages, the keeper speaks German, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, with the DFB team. Bringing different types of players together never hurts, even with the best of the best. And one thing is clear: Should Manuel Neuer be absent for any reason, Trapp would be ready. He has proven more than once in the Europa League that he can hold his own against big opponents. He won the duel with Ter Stegen at club level in the quarterfinals.


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