On May 18, Eintracht Frankfurt has the great opportunity to reward themselves for a great Europa League season and win the title in the final against Glasgow Rangers. For the Hessians it would be the second major international title win in the club’s history.
We’re going on a little journey through time and look back on four seasons in which Eintracht has already caused a sensation internationally.
After Frankfurt’s only championship title in 1959, the Hessians consequently competed in the European Champions’ Cup one season later. The Hessians were the first German team to reach the final. Before that, Eintracht had to pass the Young Boys (4: 1, 1: 1), the Wiener Sport-Klub (2: 1, 1: 1) and, of all things, the Glasgow Rangers. A good omen: The Frankfurters swept the Scots off the field with a result of 6:3 and 6:1 that is suspicious of tennis.
However, the opponents in the final, Real Madrid, proved to be too strong. The Madrilenians won 7-3 in what was later voted the best European Cup final of all time.
“My opponent José Emilio Santamaria almost undressed me on the pitch. We were just a good bunch of Hessians on the other hand,” declared Erwin Stein, who scored twice, disappointed after the game. Despite this, Eintracht inspired Europe throughout the competition and to some extent also in the final.
As luck would have it, the duel between Frankfurt and West Ham already had a history. The two clubs met in the semi-finals of the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup. Back then, however, the Hammers had the better end for themselves. Frankfurt had home advantage in the first game and narrowly won 2-1.
On the island, however, the Hessians fell behind by 1:3. Shortly before the end, a Frankfurter only hit the post of the empty goal, which made the elimination particularly bitter. At that time, the away goals rule, which would have brought Frankfurt to the final, applied.
On the way to the semi-finals, Eintracht eliminated Coleraine from Northern Ireland (5-1 and 6-2), Atlético Madrid (2-1 and 1-0) and Sturm Graz (2-0 and 1-0).
In 1980 Eintracht won the only major international title in the club’s history under Friedel Rausch. The 1979/80 UEFA Cup season was also known as the German year because five German teams had advanced to the quarter-finals. The semi-final was then even exclusively a German affair. While Borussia Mönchengladbach sent VfB Stuttgart home, Eintracht defeated FC Bayern. This was spectacularly done after a 2-0 home defeat with a 5-1 win after extra time in Munich.
In the final, the Hessians again had a few problems in the first leg and lost 2:3 at Bökelberg. At home in the Waldstadion, however, Fred Schaub made it 1-0 in the 81st minute. Thanks to the away goals rule, Eintracht was able to celebrate the UEFA Cup victory.
Three years ago, the legendary herd of buffalo narrowly missed making it into the final. Jovic, Rebic and Haller swept past Lazio, Marseille and Limassol in the group stage, winning all six games. In the sixteenth final, Donetsk was sent home with 2:2 and 4:1. This was followed by a narrow win against Inter Milan (0-0, 1-0) and a roller-coaster progression against Benfica (2-0 and 2-4).
The semi-final against Chelsea was definitely the most dramatic. After a 1-1 draw at home, the Hessians fell behind early on in London. However, Luka Jovic, who was still accurate at the time, equalized. It finally went to penalties, in which Eintracht initially had the advantage thanks to Azpilicueta’s miss. However, after Hinteregger and Paciencia missed, Eden Hazard used the match point and shot Chelsea into the final.
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