How was Eintracht Frankfurt able to surpass itself to win the title? A search for traces of Martin Hinteregger’s visions, Sebastian Rode’s eyes and the coach’s dialect.
Martin Hinteregger knew that. The injured Austrian did not reach the final in Sevilla in civilian clothes, but in full uniform. It was not a sign that his injured thigh was not yet to be patched, but a sign of solidarity. Hinteregger was already clear before the match against Rangers that Eintracht would win the trophy: “I knew from the start that this would be our night. This story had to end, and today it was over.”
Sports director Markus Krösche had shown a similar instinct when, before the away game in the big FC Barcelona, he broadcast the slogan, which initially seemed illusory: “We go there and beat them.” Coach Oliver Glasner had already after the eighth victory against Betis stated internally that Eintracht should play in the final on 18 May.
The team became larger than the sum of its parts
Such statements can be interpreted as a demonstration of self-confidence, as a contribution to the “self-fulfilling prophecy”, but perhaps Hinteregger, Krösche and Glasner had only one decisive advantage: They knew this team, which during this turbulent season became larger than the sum of Their individual parts. It mutated to SG unit Frankfurt.
When a German team last won the Uefa Cup exactly 25 years ago, this digression is allowed, Schalke manager Rudi Assauer was also sure of victory before the duel with the overwhelming opponent Inter Milan: “I looked the players in the eyes at breakfast and then we knew that we would win. ” So if you looked into the eyes of the descendants of Schalke “Eurofighter”, the players of Eintracht Frankfurt, you could draw the same conclusion.
Rode thinks of a fallen fan in the middle of the limelight
Captain Sebastian Rode told days before the final how wonderful it would be to raise the trophy as a Hesse boy and then celebrate the triumph at home with his boys. Immediately before the kick-off, as the cameras rolled off the players, they naturally also caught Rode, who was suffering from injuries and setbacks, who was actually almost considered a standby professional, who sometimes no longer believed in himself, again this season . to be at 100 per cent. Immediately before this finale, there was no discouragement in Rode’s face, no fear of possible failure. Rode almost smiled. Everything about him said what can best be described in a British proverb: Came with it.
The night after winning the title, at the reception at Römer in Frankfurt, his eyes shone even more than his teammates and fans used Bengalos. Rode grabbed the microphone, the scar on his head was still clearly visible. “After the Gladbach match, I said we as a team would like to thank you for the trophy on Römer. And here’s the thing!” He could have room for even more pathos, who if not him, the comebacker, the man with the turban, the Hessen boy with the trophy. But in the second part of his speech, Rode wished one of the fans’ lead singers, who had fallen badly during the final, a speedy recovery. On behalf of the team. In a moment like this, in the middle of the limelight, how many players think of a fallen fan ?!
Chandler, Paciencia, Lenz – the kit from the bank
But it was not just Rode’s appearance on the balcony that told a lot about this Frankfurt team. Not only did they celebrate with relief that the Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, Peter Feldmann, had kindly let them out on the balcony with the trophy. They celebrated a community. Timothy Chandler, for example, had put on a new turban for Rode and explained it in his own way: “Doctor, medicine, we know everything.”
Chandler had mostly sat outside, but he was putty from the bank, like “Feierbiest” Goncalo Paciencia or the longtime Frankfurter Danny da Costa. The first two penalty shooters in the final, Christopher Lenz and Ajdin Hrustic, had also not played a role for several months. That did not stop her from freezing her shots and then boiling Rangers fans off with her moves. In the training week before the final, Stefan Ilsanker was usually at the far end of the field to beat his teammates with a cross or to check the goalkeepers. The man was not even registered in the Europa League.
17 nationalities in the team – “United Colors of Bembeltown”
They all fully lived up to their coach’s expectations: “I told the boys I would forgive any mistakes. But not if they spread bad mood. It has something to do with character,” coach Oliver Glasner said in the hr documentary. A dream trip “. through Europe “. Bill Shankly’s old adage probably applies here too:” One Soccer team is like a piano. She needs eight men to carry it and three to play the damn thing. “
At Eintracht there were more than three, the exceptional players were Kevin Trapp, Djibril Sow, Daichi Kamada, Filip Kostic and Rafael Borré. And German, and Swiss, and Japanese, and Serbian, and Colombian. There are 17 different nationalities in the Eintracht Frankfurt squad. During training, there were sometimes funny situations because coach Glasner spoke in German, or the Spanish translator ran across the pitch and into the middle of the attacks to translate for Borré. Their internationality makes Eintracht’s team spirit even more special. It looks like the cup victory in 2018 – the team had once again become “United Colors of Bembeltown”.
Decent guys – with punch
Back then, when the trophy was won, a team gathered that “not everyone would give their apartment key to the weekend without hesitation. But one that everyone loves to be near in bar fights had”. The Europa League winners of 2022 would have confidence in both situations. They are good, decent guys, but that does not mean they are less filled with punch and fearlessness. Which team last attacked FC Barcelona in their own stadium, yes, in a bunch ?!
In 2018, Ante Rebic best described the success of a phrase that was later printed on T-shirts: Bruda, hit the ball far. In 2022, Coach Glasner’s words should gain the same popularity. Glasner stood on the balcony late at night with a scarf relaxed around his neck, waiting patiently with the microphone on his turn after the fans had chanted for him.
Glasner’s phrases belong on T-shirts
For the first time in the whole year, Glasner switched to his Austrian dialect. As it only happens to people when they are feeling really good, drunk or particularly emotional. Or all of them. And that’s why you should leave them elegant in his style, the most appropriate words for Eintracht’s Europa League victory:
“You can win titles by giving money oas goanz vü. Or you can win titles by forming an entire large unit. A great unity in the team, a great unity in the club, a great unity with me. And that’s the only way to make it happen. Thanks.”