Eintracht Frankfurt has won the 2021/2022 UEFA Europa League title, after an intense and hard-fought battle in the final against Glasgow Rangers.
It ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and half an hour of extra time, before the Eagles triumphed on penalties.
Frankfurt’s keeper Kevin Trapp saved a spot kick from Aaron Ramsey in the fourth round of the shootout.
All other penalty takers for both teams had been successful.
That includes Rafael Borré’s strike, which was the winning kick.
The Columbian marksman had also equalized in regulation, canceling out Joe Aribo’s opening goal, to send the match extra time.
Glory for Eintracht Frankfurt
This is Eintracht Frankfurt’s second ever continental title, after having won the old UEFA Cup in 1980.
It also ends a 25-year long drought for the German teams in Europe’s second-largest club competition, since Schalke 04 last won it in 1996.
(That was still the precursor UEFA Cup tournament as well.) In the Europa League era, since 2010 Bundesliga teams never even reached the final before.
For that reason, it is not just a major success for the Eagles, but also a vindication of the work done in German club football as a whole.
It also guarantees Eintracht a place in next season’s Champions League alongside the Bundesliga’s top four finishers Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig.
That is particularly remarkable because Frankfurt only finished 11th in their domestic league with a mere 42 points, as they largely focused on their European campaign late in the season.
Frankfurt’s success also shows that it is possible to win in Europe, without having a wealthy team owner.
Yet it will be interesting to see how they perform in the Champions League next term, which of course is a completely different caliber then the Europa League.
It is unavoidable that the squad will need reinforcements, while it must try to keep as many of its key performers as possible. They have become very lucrative for other clubs without a doubt.
It will be Frankfurt’s first ever season in the Champions League, although they have reached the final in the early history of the precursor tournament, the European Cup.
In 1960, they lost 7-3 to a seemingly unbeatable Real Madrid side led by Argentine great Alfredo Di Stéfano as well as Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás, who scored three and four goals respectively in the match.
Perhaps Eintracht will be hoping for a rematch or two with Real at any stage of the 2022/23 Champions League, but this is no time for such romanticism. In any case, we will eagerly await the club’s moves on the transfer market this summer, both in terms of comings and goings.