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FC Barcelona play Eintracht Frankfurt for the first time ever in an official competition this Thursday at 9.00pm CEST. Time to take a closer look at the Bundesliga side...
Frankfurt, which takes its name from the people called the Franks (as does France), is the fifth biggest city in Germany, although it forms part of the larger Rhine-Main metropolitan region that has around 5.5 people. Famous for some of Europe’s tallest skyscrapers, the city is one of the world’s most important financial hubs, home among many other institutions to the European Central Bank. Its trade fairs are famed worldwide, especially the music and book ones. Frankfurt Airport has more direct flights than any other city in the world.
The Frankfurter Fußball-Club Viktoria von 1899 was founded, as their name suggests, in the same year as FC Barcelona, although the team went through various mergers and changes of identity before the Eintracht name (meaning something akin to ‘united’) was adopted in 1920.
The club was one of the strongest in Southern Germany, and it’s most famous hour was its appearance in the historic 1960 European Cup Final, losing 7-3 to Real Madrid in front of 127,000 people in Glasgow.
Eintracht have never won the Bundesliga. The closest they ever came to doing so was 1992, when they finished just two points behind champions Stuttgart.
Their greatest success was winning the UEFA Cup in 1980, beating Borussia Mönchengladbach in the final of a curious edition in which all four semi-finalists came from Germany.
The Waldstation, known for commercial reasons as Deutsche Bank Park, has existed since 1925, although it's undergone a number of modernisations since then, including operations to host games at the 1974 and 2006 World Cups. It was also the venue for the 2011 Women’s World Cup Final, won by Japan.
It currently holds 51,500 people, and the fans that fill it create one of the most passionate atmospheres in European football. And keep a lookout for the club’s mascot, Attila the Eagle, who appears in the stadium for all the big games. He represents the eagle that has appeared on the city’s coat of arms since the 13th century.
Head to head
In its early years, Barça played three friendlies against another Frankfurt club, FSV, but they didn’t meet Eintracht for the first time until 1973. Marti Filosia scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Barça in a mid-season friendly.
Three years later, in 1976, Eintracht were back at Camp Nou as one of the guests in the Joan Gamper Trophy. Barça beat the Germans 2-0 in the final, the goals scored by Johan Neeskens and Manolo Clares.
So, this will be the first ever competitive meeting between the two clubs, and also the first time ever that Barça have visited the city of Frankfurt. All the previous games were played in Barcelona.
Eintracht only won one of their first ten Bundesliga games, although that was an impressive one, 2-1 away to Bayern Munich, the first win at the Allianz Arena in 21 years. Things have picked up since then, particularly on the road (Eintracht have only won one of their last six league games at home), but they are still only ninth, five points below the European places.
After missing out on the Champions League by just one point last season, Eintracht’s Europa League run began by topping a group that also included Olympiacos, Fenerbahçe and Antwerp.
They then defeated La Liga side Real Betis in a dramatic round of 16 tie that was sealed by a Guido Rodriguez own goal in the very last minute of a game that was otherwise headed for penalties.
Makoto Hasebe (Japan, 114), Martin Hinteregger (Austria, 67), Stefan Ilsanker (Austria, 61), Filip Kostić (Serbia, 45), Timothy Chandler (USA, 29), Djibril Sow (Switzerland, 26), Aymen Barkok (Morocco, 17), Daichi Kamada (Japan, 16), Rafael Santos Borré (Colombia, 16), Ajdin Hrustic (Australia, 13), Jens Petter Hauge (Norway, 8), Erik Durm (Germany, 7), Kevin Trapp (Germany, 6), Jesper Lindstrøm (Denmark, 5), Kristijan Jakić (Croatia, 3), Gonçalo Paciência (Portugal, 2)
Top scorers 2021/22
Rafael Santos Borré (8), Daichi Kamada (7), Jesper Lindstrøm (5)
Austrian Oliver Glasner spent his entire career defending at SV Ried in his home country, and following retirement due to a head injury he took over as manager. He has since been at LASK in his home country and then Vfl Wolfsburg in Germany, guiding both teams into the Europa League in his first seasons and later in the Champions League. He accepted the Eintracht position in May of last year as a replacement for Adil Hütter.
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