Eintracht Frankfurt: their weaknesses and where they could hurt Rangers

Before the Europa League final we look at lessons learned from the German club’s win over West Ham in the previous round

Kamada’s creativity It will be crucial for Rangers to keep a close eye on Daichi Kamada in the final third. The Japanese playmaker is a lovely, silky player and was impressive when Eintracht Frankfurt saw off West Ham in the last four. Even Declan Rice found it difficult to pin Kamada down when Eintracht won the first leg at the London Stadium. West Ham never seemed to know what to do with Kamada, who plays as one of the two attacking midfielders in Oliver Glasner’s 3-4-2-1. He had a role in Eintracht’s opening goal, was in the right place to tap home the winner after Djibril Sow’s shot was saved and was unlucky to see a deflected shot hit the woodwork during the final stages, so Rangers will need to keep a close eye on the 25-year-old. If Kamada is given too much space to dribble inside from the left and play clever passes then Rangers will be in trouble.

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Allan McGregor: ‘Rangers in the Europa League final shouldn’t really happen’

The 40-year-old goalkeeper has 12 winner’s medals but beating Frankfurt would top the lot in what could be his last game

As Ibrox roared with approval at the vanquishing of RB Leipzig eyes were drawn towards Allan McGregor. Three months after his 40th birthday an individual not known for demonstrative behaviour bellowed along to “The Blue Sea of Ibrox”. McGregor was like a giddy teenager.

“A lot of people have said the same,” McGregor says. “Someone asked me recently – obviously I am getting on a bit – whether I actually savour moments more now. I thought about it. ‘I should. Why not?’ If I hadn’t been asked that maybe I wouldn’t have been that way that night.

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Outbreaks of chaos expose fatal flaw that keeps denying Guardiola European glory | Jonathan Wilson

As four pre-final defeats highlight, City’s mechanism is so complex that when it misfires it cannot easily be put right

At what point does just one of those things become more than just one of those things? If Manchester City’s defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday night were a one-off, it could be written off. What can you do about luck like that? If you have nine shots on target to the opposition’s none in the first 90 minutes and still lose 2-1 what, really, have you done wrong? Especially when you’ve dominated the first leg as City had done.

But this keeps happening. Season after season, Pep Guardiola finds his teams dominating Champions League ties and losing. Bad luck follows him: the Icelandic volcano that forced Barcelona to take the bus to Milan in 2010, Fernando Llorente’s handled goal in 2019, Raheem Sterling missing an open net from six yards in 2020 …

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Guardiola: maybe I’m not good enough to bring City Champions League glory

  • Spaniard says club will keep pushing for European success
  • ‘We are going to try again next season, and then again’

Pep Guardiola has said “maybe I’m not good enough” to lead Manchester City to Champions League glory but the manager is clear the team will keep trying to triumph in the competition.

City were knocked out in the semi-finals by Real Madrid on Wednesday, 6-5 on aggregate, having led 5-3 overall and 1-0 on the night with seconds remaining at the Bernabéu before added time. Guardiola was proud of his side despite the shock of the defeat but questioned himself after a sixth disappointment in the competition in his six years in charge.

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Rangers show power of unity and have nothing to fear in Europa League final

Like it or not, Rangers have overachieved by reaching the final of a tournament which has seen bigger names beaten and others fall by the wayside

A post-match episode in mutual appreciation as stragglers made their way along Paisley Road West shortly before 11.30pm on Thursday. RB Leipzig fan: “Great stadium.” Rangers fan: “We were the underdogs.” Leipzig fan: “Underdogs? This is Glasgow Rangers.” Laughs, handshakes and both went on their merry way.

Anyone with an interest in football’s soul – certainly in Germany - may find it appropriate that Rangers progressed to the Europa League final at the expense of the sporting wing of an energy drinks empire. Red Bull and its wings cannot upstage Ibrox when it sings. Those who visited as part of the Leipzig contingent did appear struck by the atmosphere, which was far more intense than a week earlier at the RB Arena.

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Jürgen Klopp backs Liverpool fan group over Champions League final tickets

  • Spirit of Shankly angry over prices and size of allocation
  • Tickets on resale site have asking price as high as £15,499

Jürgen Klopp has backed the Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly after it accused Uefa of hypocrisy for condemning the greed of Super League clubs while increasing its ticket revenue by 38% over the past four years. The manager said he agreed “100,000%” and claimed: “Uefa are not the saints of football, they never were.”

Liverpool and Real Madrid have been allocated 19,618 tickets each for the final in Paris, priced at £50.32, £125.79, £410.91 and £578.63. The two cheapest category tickets – amounting to about 15,500 seats per club – were discounted at the request of the semi-finalists, after Uefa had proposed offering 5,000 free tickets to each finalist. There is no reduction for over-65s, young adults (17-21) or juniors.

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Rangers’ Van Bronckhorst eyes ‘another proud moment’ in Europa League final

  • Manager delighted with semi-final victory over RB Leipzig
  • ‘The pressure will be different’ for final against Frankfurt

Giovanni van Bronckhorst immediately set his sights on winning the Europa League after Rangers sealed a Seville final meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt by beating RB Leipzig on a famous evening at Ibrox.

“We will prepare well and try to create another proud moment for this club,” said the Rangers manager. “We don’t have to do anything different in terms of preparation than we have done so far. Of course the pressure will be different for a final but we still have to play to our strengths. Finals are always nice if you win them and that’s what we want to do.

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Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 West Ham (agg 3-1): Europa League semi-final, second leg – as it happened

Aaron Cresswell and David Moyes were sent off as West Ham’s Europa League dream ended on a sad and frustrating night in Frankfurt

“It’s really good to see how Declan Rice has progressed this year but interesting also as he was arguably outshone in England’s central midfield by Kalvin Phillips in the summer,” says David Wall. “I wonder if Phillips has got similar potential to kick on to the extent that Rice has. It certainly suggests that Leeds would be nowhere near the trouble they’re in if he’d been fit more this season.”

Phillips is three years older so I doubt he has quite the same scope for improvement. He’s already a superb player though, unique in English football. I know all teams get injuries but Leeds have been desperately unlucky. If Phillips and Patrick Bamford had played 75 per cent of the games, never mind Liam Cooper, I think they’d be fine.

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Rangers’ Lundstram strikes late to beat RB Leipzig to Europa League final

The 60th game of Rangers’ season delivered the most memorable moment of all. There could be better – far better – to come in Seville on 18 May. With Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team on the ropes and RB Leipzig in the ascendancy, John Lundstram bulged the net in front of the Copland Road stand. The level of euphoria depicted a goal for the ages. Who cared that is was scrappy?

Rangers, a decade on from financial meltdown, will compete in a Europa League final. Leipzig will be sore about that given their prominence at the time of Lundstram’s intervention but the truth is Rangers’ effective football prevailed.

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Mohamed Salah’s revenge talk offers insight into Liverpool’s final mindset

Forward has been open on his feelings about meeting Real Madrid and up to seven other 2018 starters could play in Paris

Managers usually dislike revenge talk, at least in public, and Jürgen Klopp was no exception the last time Liverpool prepared to meet Real Madrid in the Champions League. “We are not on a revenge tour here,” he said before last season’s quarter-final. “Sometimes it [a reunion] is close enough, like a week or two later, and then you can have these kind of emotions in you.” Or four years later, as is the case with Mohamed Salah.

Salah has been surprisingly open this week on his feelings towards Liverpool’s third Champions League final appearance in five seasons.

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Systemic flaws of Guardiola’s City keep Champions League out of reach | Barney Ronay

Lack of a pure centre-forward hurt them against Real Madrid and manager’s challenge now is to lift his players for league defence

Hello darkness my old friend. As Pep Guardiola walked on to the pitch at the final whistle in the Bernabéu, a familiarly skinny-legged figure, that gleaming bald pate looking terribly tender under the hard white lights, still dressed head to toe in tailored black like a celebrity magician, or a university lecturer on his way to a funeral, it was hard not to feel the pathos of the moment.

Guardiola shook hands, patted his players and said something to the referee. He lingered near the centre circle, facing down the waves of triumphalism from the seats, in an arena where this really is personal, where Guardiola stands as a gargoyle of deep tribal rivalries.

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Mohamed Salah admits Liverpool have ‘score to settle’ against Real Madrid

  • Liverpool forward relishing Champions League final rematch
  • Salah went off in 2018 final after being injured by Sergio Ramos

Mohamed Salah has said Liverpool have a “score to settle” with Real Madrid after the Spanish side set up a repeat of their 2018 Champions League final by securing a comeback win against Manchester City.

Salah left the field in tears in the final four years ago after a heavy fall under a challenge by Sergio Ramos, with Real going on to clinch the title with a 3-1 victory. “We have a score to settle,” Salah posted on social media after Real eliminated City 6-5 on aggregate.

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Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City (agg 6-5): Champions League semi-final, second leg – as it happened

City, seemingly Paris bound, were stunned by Rodrygo’s late double whammy and Karim Benzema’s extra-time penalty

1 min: Vinicius Junior goes on a run down the left and is shoved in the back by Mahrez. A free kick right by the corner flag.

Manchester City get the ball rolling. We’ll find out who faces Liverpool in Paris on Saturday 28 May soon enough!

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Problem-solver Klopp presses reset to propel Liverpool into another final | David Hytner

Villarreal dominated half of the Champions League semi-final second leg but Reds found way to make it to Paris showpiece

Luis Díaz revved the engine, priming the afterburners. He blazed up the left, taking Juan Foyth, the Villarreal right-back, with him. He slowed and then he went again, purring away from him. The Liverpool winger had just entered as a half-time substitute in his team’s Champions League semi-final, second leg at the Estadio de la Cerámica and he was testing his marker, working out whether he had the beating of him. The answer was emphatic. He did.

Díaz knew it. So did everyone and, as Liverpool set about starting Tuesday night’s tie – albeit 45 minutes late – it felt as though something had been plugged in, the power returning.

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