Europa Final: Can the attractive Rangers dominate the irresistible Frankfurt?

Frankfurt v Rangers: Europa League Final Preview

Since 2008, the Rangers will play in a European final for the first time. In Seville, Eintracht Frankfurt, the 1980 UEFA Cup winners who haven’t reached this stage of a continental competition since, awaits the Scottish team.

Image Credits: barcablaugranes.com

Many would have imagined an all-German final following Frankfurt and RB Leipzig each seized the lead in their respective semi-finals after the first leg. When West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell was sent off after only 19 minutes of the second leg at Deutsche Bank Park, it seemed like Frankfurt would advance. Rafael Santos Borre scored the game’s only goal seven minutes later, securing a 3-1 victory.

Leipzig’s 1-0 lead over Rangers was squandered after James Tavernier and Glen Kamara scored in the first half at Ibrox. Christopher Nkunku levelled the game, but John Lundstram’s 80th-minute goal handed Rangers a 3-2 advantage that will be remembered in Glasgow.

These two teams will now compete for not just the championship but also an automatic spot in the Champions League group stage next season. What are our expectations for the game?

Eintracht Frankfurt has reached the finals of a UEFA competition three times, winning the 1980 UEFA Cup Final and placing second in the 1960 European Cup. Since 1997, no German team has advanced to the final of the UEFA Europa League.

Eintracht Frankfurt’s path to the final began in the group stage, where the squad went undefeated and finished top in Group D to advance to the knockout tournament. Eintracht Frankfurt faced West Ham United in the semi-finals after winning on aggregate against two Spanish clubs, Real Betis and Barcelona. The game was tense on the field, with Frankfurt down by a single goal on aggregate in the second leg, but Rafael Borre put one past the West Ham goalie to seal his team’s place in the 2022 Europa League Final. 

While Frankfurt lacks the star power of several other European clubs, the team is nonetheless loaded with quality. Filip Kostic stepped up with two goals in the quarter-final, and leading scorer Rafael Borre scored the game-winning goal against West Ham. With their quarter-final triumph over Barcelona, this club demonstrated that it could compete with the European soccer superpowers. They will need one more major win to lift the trophy.

Rangers have been the first Scottish club to reach the finals of any European competition since the UEFA Cup Finals in 2008 when the same team did it. Rangers have reached the final of a UEFA competition five times, with their only victory coming in the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final.

Rangers finished second to Lyon in Group A after advancing through the qualifying phase. After defeating Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade in the group stage, the Rangers were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Braga but came back to win the second leg 3-1. Rangers were down 2-0 against RB Leipzig in the semi-final, but midfielder John Lundstram scored in the 80th minute to break the tie on aggregate and send Rangers to the Europa League Final this year.

James Tavernier, the captain, has had an excellent season with the Rangers, scoring seven goals in the Europa League. Forward Alfredo Morelos and midfielder John Lundstram have made significant contributions to the team. The Rangers have had a great season, and the best may still be ahead of them.

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