History calls Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers in the Europa League final

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Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers will have a chance to end decades of despair when they meet in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

For Frankfurt, it will be a chance to win its first European trophy in more than 40 years. For Rangers, a chance for their first continental title in 50 years.

Winning the second division competition in the Spanish city of Seville will also guarantee the winner an automatic place in next season’s Champions League group stage.

“For Eintracht, for the fans, for the club, for the players (to win again after 42 years) would be the most important thing,” Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner told UEFA.com. “It has extraordinary meaning, great meaning, and that’s why we’re going to do everything we can to go home with the trophy and spend a night or two celebrating it with our fans.”

It will be Frankfurt’s first European final since it beat Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1980 in a duel of Germans in the UEFA Cup, the predecessor of the Europa League.

Rangers came close to European glory when they reached the UEFA Cup final in 2008, but lost to Zenit Saint Petersburg. The Scottish club are seeking their first European trophy since winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.

Both clubs have massive fan bases, with tens of thousands expected to descend on southern Spain this week to try to get their team back on their feet, raising concerns among local authorities and UEFA.

There was fan violence involving away fans in Seville when home clubs Sevilla and Real Betis staged matches early in the competition. Ahead of the semi-final between Frankfurt and West Ham in Germany, more than 30 arrests were made after supporters of both clubs clashed at various venues in Frankfurt.

The German club’s fans also made headlines when more than 30,000 descended on Barcelona’s Camp Nou for the quarter-final second leg.

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UEFA has asked fans without tickets not to travel to Spain for Wednesday’s final and has warned of the dangers of buying tickets on the secondary market.

More than 40,000 seats will be available at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium, but only around 10,000 tickets were allocated to each club. Seville city officials planned to open fan zones to accommodate those who were unable to attend the game.

The match will pit two high-intensity, physical teams with impressive runs to the final.

Rangers, led by captain and top scorer James Tavernier, lost their first two group games but eventually gained momentum. They will be boosted by having already eliminated two German clubs: Borussia Dortmund in the first knockout round and Leipzig in the semi-finals.

“When you’re in the knockout stages, it’s all or nothing, and the character of my players has been outstanding,” said Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who was hired in November after Steven Gerrard joined Aston Villa. . “To be able to win against those strong opponents is really good, so we have the character to play this final, we have the qualities and we also have the faith. That’s the most important thing, having the belief that you can do it.”

Frankfurt, led by veteran goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, went into the final undefeated after eliminating some strong opponents: Real Betis in the round of 16, Barcelona in the quarter-finals and West Ham in the semi-finals. Frankfurt is looking to become the third undefeated team to win the title in the Europa League era, after Chelsea in 2019 and Villarreal in 2021.

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“All the teams that reach the final have earned it because it is a long road. You have to win a lot of games,” Glasner said. “Rangers eliminated two of the best teams in the Bundesliga in two games. That shows that they are very good and it also shows that they are well equipped for German football, so I expect a very close and close competition.”

The last meeting between the two clubs was painful for Rangers. The Scottish club conceded six goals in each of two 1960 European Cup semi-final games, denying themselves the opportunity to play a final at home in Glasgow. Frankfurt lost the final against Real Madrid 7-3.

Frankfurt have not returned to Europe’s top club competition since that final, while Rangers made their last appearance in the Champions League group stage in 2010-11.

The last time the UEFA Cup final was played in Seville, in 2003, Celtic, Rangers’ Scottish rival, lost the title to Porto, managed by José Mourinho.


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