42 years after his first European title and a decade after relegation to Germany’s second division, Eintracht Frankfurt won the Europa League on Wednesday, defeating Glasgow Rangers in the final in Seville on penalties (5-4, after 1-1 in 120 minutes). This was the second European title in the history of the German national team (the successor to the 2021 winner Villarreal in the history of the competition), after the victory in the so-called UEFA Cup in 1980, an achievement with a lot to give. Direct entry to next season’s Champions League groups and as a seed.
Second place in the Scottish League versus eleventh in the Bundesliga wouldn’t exactly be the most sought-after poster for a European final – UEFA would probably prefer RB Leipzig, two teams that the finalists killed. But Rangers and Eintracht were in Seville on their own merits in a final of particular interest to both of them. They both went out of their way to win in Europe, and ten years ago, neither was in the first division – in 2012, the Germans were in Bundesliga 2, and the Protestants in Glasgow were relegated to the Scottish fourth.
In Wednesday’s match, the Germans seemed more inspired, more willing to attack and shoot, as noted in the first minutes. Gabriel Sow made the first attempt in the 12th minute, with 40-year-old MacGregor showing confidence in the Scots’ goal, but Asgar Knauf was even more exciting in his 20th minute attempt, making a stunning save from the veteran Scots goalkeeper. .
In the 26th minute, just before the break, which is absolutely necessary to fight the heat in the Andalusian capital, Joe Aribeau gave the signal to the Scots, with a shot that came very close to Kevin Trapp’s goal. The response came in a single move by Kostik, who won the ball close to his own area and took it to the opposite goal. Since he didn’t have any company from anyone on his team, he shot to the side.
The game was in the pause and response phase. Rangers central defender Lundstram almost headed in with a free kick in the 36th minute. None of these moves prevented the match from going into the first half with a 0-0 score on the scoreboard, which was justified, despite the slight rise for the German team.
The trend seemed to continue into the second half, but it was Rangers who took the lead in the 57th minute. Trapp was not qualified to put a space between his goal and the ball and put his defense in shock. Sue didn’t solve the situation well either, and when he was trying to get to the ball, Brazil’s central defender Tata stumbled at Eintracht, leaving Joe Aribo relieved. Against Trapp, the Nigerian international did not fail and put the Scots ahead.
With just over half an hour to correct the error, Eintracht fired himself with more passion in attack – coach Oliver Glasner fired several people up front, leaving Portuguese Gonzalo Paciencia on the bench – and took the prize in the 69th minute. Good move by Kostic on the left , the ball traveled to the area in a path where Santos Bori caught the distance between the central defence. The Colombian only had to extend his leg to equalize – another important goal for the former River Plate striker, who had already scored at Camp Nou in the 2-3 win that eliminated Barcelona.
The equalizer slowed down the offensive dimension of the game a bit. No one wanted to take risks, let alone make mistakes, both sides breathed and meticulous management. Nothing happened until the end of the ’90s, and the 30 minutes of extra time wasn’t much different. The exceptions came in the 118th minute, when Trapp closed his goal with a close shot from Kent, and in the 120th minute, when Tavernier’s goal-scoring team attempted to score with a dangerous free kick.
But the final in Seville, like last year’s final, was a penalty shootout. Three minute penalty kicks each, and in the fourth for Rangers, Ramsey missed the first. Kostik scored a goal soon after, putting the Germans ahead. Ruf went on to equalize from 11 meters, but Bure, who scored the equalizer, made the penalty kick that gave Eintracht the title.