Dhe countdown is on, the tension is rising. Can Eintracht make it to the last 16 of the Champions League? Or maybe it will continue in the Europa League? From the worst of all cases, leaving the premier class, the Frankfurters do not lose a syllable. Even when the concert of the greats started, there was only one slogan: “We want to make it to the round of 16.” Coach Oliver Glasner said it, sporting director Markus Krösche said it – and so did the players around captain Sebastian Rode and goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, of course.
The requirements for really moving into the knockout stages are as simple as they are challenging. Glasner’s team just has to win. A win this Tuesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on DAZN) in the Estadio José Alvalade, the home of Sporting Lisbon, and the first dream goal would be achieved. “It would be historic if we made it into the round of 16,” said Axel Hellmann before leaving for Portugal. The board spokesman added: “It would be a big milestone.”
A lot has happened at Eintracht in sporting, economic and administrative terms in recent years. “After the loss of the buffalo herds of Rebic, Jovic and Haller, the further development of the club is an enormous sporting achievement, if we could crown it now,” said Hellmann after the 2-1 defeat in the Bundesliga core business against Borussia Dortmund and before the intended coup in the premier class. “It’s almost unbelievable that it works like this.” The way in which the upheaval took place impresses him. “We managed it with a steady hand. The cogs meshed for us,” says the 51-year-old doer. “We now have a basic stability. That is the great achievement.”
Triumph arouses desires
A joint venture in which the club’s engine also plays a large part: Coach Glasner. The soccer coach exemplifies what Hellmann says, that work is done with a steady hand and a clear view. With the triumph in Seville, where the Europa League was won against Glasgow Rangers, Glasner and his team aroused a great deal of desire in addition to all the emotions. The European way of harmony should not end in Lisbon. “We love finals,” says Hellmann. The duel against Sporting is such a final. “Hope or two,” says the board spokesman. All or nothing. Eintracht wants everything – and to make it into the round of 16.
On the way there, Glasner consistently stayed on course. Final training on site in Lisbon? no way. As with the previous international tasks, work was done on the Frankfurt Arena before departure – including the recovered Ansgar Knauff, “who is able to play”, as Glasner said in Lisbon in the evening, where Eintracht had arrived one and a half hours late.