Eintracht Frankfurt boast a player with a FIFA World Cup final-winning goal in Mario Götze. He’s just one compelling reason why the UEFA Europa League holders will beat their UEFA Champions League equivalents Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup…
1) THAT Barcelona game
Frankfurt powered to victory in the Europa League, going unbeaten through six group and seven knockout fixtures. They needed extra-time to see off Spain's Real Betis in the round of 16, but got the job done inside regulation time in their quarter-final tie with tournament favourites Barcelona.
Ansgar Knauff opened the scoring in the first leg, a game that finished one apiece despite Frankfurt defender Tuta's second-half sending off. With 20 minutes left of the away tie at Camp Nou, Eintracht had powered into a 4-1 aggregate lead through Filip Kostic's brace and Rafael Santos Borre's 25-yard piledriver.
Frankfurt lost Evan Ndicka to a late red card and conceded twice in added time, but the damage had already been done. The Barcelona team that had won 4-0 away to Real in La Liga a month earlier simply could not contain Oliver Glasner's unflappable Eagles.
2) All systems Gö-tze
Mario Götze knows a thing or two about jubilant scenes. A five-time Bundesliga winner with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the Frankfurt summer signing famously scored the extra-time goal that sealed a fourth FIFA World Cup for Germany at Brazil 2014.
A metabolic disorder threw him off his stride, but Götze has rebuilt his career, producing 18 goals and 18 assists in 77 games for PSV Eindhoven over the past two seasons to earn a move back to his homeland with Frankfurt.
Having played in the biggest games in club and international football - even notching three assists in his first three meetings with Real in the 2012/13 Champions League - a rejuvenated Götze spells trouble for the Champions League holders.
Watch: Mario Götze - tactical analysis
3) Rafa serving it up
Wednesday’s Super Cup will be special to all Frankfurt players, but perhaps even more so for Borre. The Colombian striker spent two frustrating years on the books at Atletico Madrid, including a loan at Villarreal, so will feel particularly motivated to show Spanish audiences what could have been.
Instead, he’s off winning titles in Frankfurt after a spell in Argentina at River Plate. His return of 56 goals in 149 games for the club was decent – more so than his 12 in 45 games during his maiden season at Eintracht, where he’s really still settling in – but Borre saves his goals for the big moments.
Going back to his time in Argentina, three goals in the 2018 Copa Libertadores in crucial knockout second legs as River won the title. Three more the next year in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. Three goals at the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup.
Fast-forward to his Frankfurt days and there’s been a brace against Dortmund, match-winning efforts against Borussia Mönchengladbach and then, of course, he found his element in the Europa League. A thunderous strike at the Camp Nou as Eintracht saw off Barcelona in the quarters. A tie-settling finish in the semi-final second leg against West Ham. And then the equaliser in the final against Rangers before the Colombian hammered home the decisive penalty in the shootout.
Borre tends to serve it up on the biggest stages and when it matters most. Like a final against Real Madrid.
Watch: Eintracht's goal-hungry South Americans - Lucas Alario and Borre
4) Don’t fall into the Trapp
As cool as Götze is on the ball, so is Kevin Trapp in the Eintracht goal. The Germany international was one of the heroes of Frankfurt’s Europa League triumph, making the second-most saves of any goalkeeper across the competition in 2021/22, including to deny Ryan Kent what looked to be a certain winner in extra-time of the final.
The 32-year-old then produced the ultimately decisive stop in the shootout against Aaron Ramsey to set up Eintracht’s famous victory in Seville. “Either you go home with the trophy or you go home with some pats on the back,” he told uefa.com when looking back on his final heroics.
This from a player who said he had the confidence to swap Frankfurt for Paris Saint-Germain back in 2015 and that he feels “nothing but joy at having the chance to play against such a team” in Real Madrid.
And he’s allowed to be confident as one of the best goalkeepers in a country famed for its great custodians. Trapp has consistently featured at the top end of the save chart in the Bundesliga since his 2018 return, was a serial winner at PSG and has a Confederations Cup medal at home (or not at home, as he’s previously confirmed they are kept elsewhere). Another strong performance, like we’ve seen from him against other European giants such as Bayern Munich, will be key for Eintracht in Helsinki.
5) Strong record against Spanish opposition
Götze augments a Frankfurt team that became only the third team to go through a Europa League campaign without defeat. He'll slot in behind the team's leading marksman in 2021/22, Borre, who scored the equaliser and winning penalty against Rangers.
Victory in the final means Frankfurt haven't lost in UEFA competition since a 2019/20 Europa League last-16 defeat to Basel. They've also won six of their 10 games against La Liga clubs overall, losing only one - a 1960 European Cup final reverse to Madrid in their first meeting with Spanish opposition.
That was the fifth of Real's 14 European Cups, but their history is littered with tournament losses to German clubs, including Bayern, Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen, Kaiserslautern, Hamburg, Schalke and Cologne.
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