Rafael Borre scored to level the UEFA Europa League final against Rangers, before Kevin Trapp’s penalty save in the shoot-out sealed victory, but who else starred for Eintracht Frankfurt this season?
bundesliga.com takes a look at five key players who gave Die Adler flight on the continent this term.
1) Kevin Trapp
It’s impossible to talk about Frankfurt‘s European success this season without mentioning goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. The shot-stopper often leads the team out with injury and age beginning to affect club captains Sebastian Rode and Makoto Hasebe respectively, and his example at the back has been exemplary.
Trapp made 36 saves across Frankfurt’s Europa League campaign – second only to Rangers’ Allan McGregor – but he outdid the Scotsman when it counted, saving Aaron Ramsey’s spot-kick as Frankfurt ran out 5-4 winner on penalties. That the game even got to that point was thanks in no small part to Trapp, who denied Ryan Kent from point-blank range in extra-time.
To say that Trapp deserved his recent return to Hansi Flick’s Germany squad for the upcoming UEFA Nations League meetings with Italy, England and Hungary would be an understatement indeed.
2) Rafael Borre
Borre may not have been quite as prolific as his Portuguese predecessor – although his 12 goals and eight assists at a rate of one every 177 minutes in all competitions is not to be sniffed at – but the Colombian’s flair for the big occasion has been unparalleled.
Borre scored against Barcelona in the Camp Nou in the quarter-finals, got the winner against West Ham in the semis, and it was his equaliser against Rangers which forced added time, and ultimately penalties. Naturally, he then thundered the winning spot-kick into McGregor’s top corner. He and Trapp were also named in the Europa League Team of the Season by UEFA.
Rafael Borre never looked like missing his winning penalty against Rangers in the Europa League final. – David Ramos/Getty Images
Ansgar Knauff has been a revelation this season. Signed by Jürgen Klopp for Borussia Dortmund back in 2016, the young winger’s potential has never been in question, but it is in his current loan spell at Frankfurt in which he has truly blossomed, even being named Young Player of the Season by UEFA.
Knauff, like Borre, found the target against both Barcelona and West Ham in Die Adler’s successful European run, and Oliver Glasner can be delighted that the loan agreement they struck with BVB for the 20-year-old attacker in January runs for another season.
Daichi Kamada may have been kept quiet in Sevilla, but the Japan midfielder was Frankfurt’s top scorer on the continent this season, finding the target against Olympiacos (x2), Antwerp, Real Betis and West Ham as Eintracht went all the way to the final undefeated.
Kamada already owned a brace against Arsenal on Frankfurt’s run to the semi-finals two years ago, and he continues to flourish in the competition – with one more goal in in 13 Europa League games this season (5) than he scored in 32 Bundesliga outings (5).
5) Filip Kostic
For all of the above, Filip Kostic remains perhaps Frankfurt’s best player. Rangers right-back and captain James Tavernier came into the final as the competition’s top scorer with seven, but he was never going to have things all his own way up against the Serbian superstar.
Left winger Kostic kept Tavernier on the back foot for long periods, and his assist for Borre’s equaliser was his tournament-leading sixth provision. Hardly a surprise, then, to see him awarded the Player of the Season award and a place in the Europa League Team of the Season by UEFA’s panel of technical observers.
Source Link: Read more