Ansgar Knauff says he cannot wait to to give Eintracht Frankfurt fans their first taste of UEFA Champions League football for 62 years.
Frankfurt lost the old European Cup final to Real Madrid in 1959/60, but became the fifth Bundesliga club to qualify for the 2022/23 Champions League group stages after winning this season's UEFA Europa League. Eintracht supporters travelled in their tens of thousands to venues such as Barcelona’s Camp Nou, West Ham United’s Olympic Stadium and the final against Glasgow Rangers at Seville's Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, as the Eagles lifted their first UEFA trophy in 42 years.
"The way the fans got behind us was simply extraordinary, I’ve never seen anything like it," Knauff said in a kicker magazine interview. "They really believed in us, and that gave us the belief. I’m so happy we were able to pay them back for their incredible support by winning the Europa League. It was unforgettable, and I can't wait for the Eintracht Frankfurt fans to see us in the Champions League!"
Watch: Eintracht Frankfurt's UEFA Europa League celebrations
Knauff himself was one of the stars of Frankfurt’s memorable European campaign. A January loan signing from Borussia Dortmund, the 21-year-old went on to start all seven of Eintracht’s Europa League knockout fixtures, breaking the deadlock in spectacular fashion in the quarter-final first leg against Barcelona before scoring at West Ham and setting up Rafael Santos Borre for the only goal in the reverse tie.
UEFA's Technical Observer panel named Knauff as the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League Young Player of the Season for his efforts, while teammate Filip Kostic was voted the tournament's Best Player.
Knauff - who also registered a goal and assist in 12 Bundesliga appearances during the Rückrunde - is currently preparing for Germany’s UEFA U21 Euro qualifiers against Hungary and Poland. His loan deal with Frankfurt expires on 30 June 2023.
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