Eintracht Frankfurt took full advantage of a blistering start to their UEFA Europa League semi-final against West Ham to leave London with a 2-1 advantage ahead of next week's second leg, with Ansgar Knauff and Daichi Kamada on target for the visitors.
West Ham United 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Goals: 0-1 Knauff 1' (assist: Borre), 1-1 Antonio 21' (assist: Zouma), 1-2 Kamada
With a place in the Seville showpiece up for grabs, the London Stadium was rocking ahead of kick-off as the teams met for the first time since the 1975/76 European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final. The game was barely a minute old when Eintracht burst the hosts' bubbles with a superbly worked goal. Working his team forward, Kamada picked out Rafael Borre inside the area. The Colombian eyed his options before curling a superb pass over the top of the West Ham defence and towards the far post, where Knauff arrived to head past a stunned Alphonse Areola. The Eagles remained largely in command until the hosts sprang into life on the quarter-hour, Jarrod Bowen running through the centre before sending a low shot against the foot of the post. The move warned of what was to come and the Hammers were level after a Manuel Lanzini free kick was met by Kurt Zouma's header across the goal where Michail Antonio diverted past the despairing dive of Kevin Trapp, who got a hand on the ball.
Eintracht ousted Real Betis and then Barcelona in the tournament's knockout stages and travelled to the English capital in confident mood. That morale was on display when Oliver Glasner's men retook the lead with a fantastically worked goal. Jesper Lindström and Djibril Sow played a slick one-two which unlocked the West Ham defence and after Sow's shot was pushed out by Areola, Kamada was there to stroke home. It could have been even better for the Japanese player and the Bundesliga side later in the half, with the 25-year-old seeing his shot from inside the area clip Craig Dawson before coming back off the post. Bowen then struck the crossbar with a superb overhead kick as West Ham almost nicked a draw. As it is, the 1980 UEFA Cup winners will take a one-goal cushion back to Deutsche Bank Park for next Thursday's second leg.
- Knauff's opener after 49 seconds is Eintracht's fastest-ever Europa League goal.
- The Frankfurt attacker scored his second of this season's tournament, following his goal against Barcelona in the quarter-final, first leg.
- Kamada can now boast 11 Europa League goals in total, while he is Frankfurt's top scorer in the competition this season with five.
- Frankfurt reached the semi-finals in 2018/19, losing on penalties to eventual winners Chelsea. They have reached the knockout stage in all four of their participations in the Europa League in its current format.
- The Eagles are the only team in the last four to have won this competition before, when it was still known as the UEFA Cup. In 1979/80, they beat fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach – the holders – on away goals.
West Ham: Areola - Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell - Soucek, Rice (c), Fornals - Bowen, Antonio, Lanzini (Benrahma 66')
Unused subs: Fabianski, Randolph, Coufal, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble, Fredericks, Masuaku, Kral, Alese, Chesters
Out: Diop (ankle), Ogbonna (knee)
Coach: David Moyes
Frankfurt: Trapp - Tuta, Hinteregger, Toure - Knauff, Sow, Rode (c), Kostic - Lindstrom (Hauge 62'), Kamada - Borre (Ache 90'+3)
Unused subs: Grahl, Hora, Hrustic, Lammers, Hasebe, Chandler, Da Costa, Lenz, Barkok, Paciencia
Out: Durm (ineligible), Ilsanker (ineligible), Jakic (suspended), Ndicka (suspended), Ramaj (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
As it happened!
FULL TIME !
A superb semi-final performance and result from Eintracht Frankfurt, who scored through Knauff in the first minute and Kamada in the second half to ensure they'll take a 2-1 lead into their second leg against West Ham at Deutsche Bank Park next Thursday.
WEST HAM HIT THE BAR
An incredible overhead kick from Bowen crashes off the underside of the crossbar as West Ham almost nick a draw at the end.
FRANKFURT WIN IN SIGHT
Eintracht are running down the clock here. Plenty of possession from the away side as West Ham look to have given it their best shot at bringing the game level. The hosts are tired.
Hinteregger clips Bowen and is shown a yellow card. From the resulting free kick, Trapp claims with ease.
Cresswell and then Benrahma have efforts off target as the home fans look to lift their side. There's a bit of niggle in this game now as Frankfurt look to see the first leg out.
WEST HAM GO CLOSE
Benrahma gets a dipping, curling shot away and it clips the woodwork. A decent effort from the West Ham substitute there.
KAMADA'S UEL NUMBERS The Japanese trickster brought his overall Europa League goals tally to 11 with his side's second tonight.
David Moyes's team are desperately trying to get back into this tie, but, aside from a few corner kicks, have not looked all that dangerous in attack in the second half.
The Dane hobbles off with what appears to be a hamstring problem. Jens Petter Hauge is thrown into the action.
TRAPP TAKES AGAIN
One more West Ham corner kick is floated down the throat of Trapp. The visiting 'keeper leaps and claims that with ease.
GOAL EINTRACHT !
And what a goal ! A superb pass and move build up sees Sow in on goal but his effort from close range is palmed out by Areola. Kamada is there to stroke into the empty net, however. Die Adler lead !
Eintracht's opener by Knauff tonight has been clocked at 49 seconds, which is the fastest goal the Eagles have ever registered in their Europa League history.
ANTONIO AND SOUCEK COMBINE
Antonio crosses from the left and finds Soucek who volleys into the ground and wide.
Jesper Lindstrom has the Eintracht fans in full voice as he looks to jink and twist his way goalwards from inside the West Ham box. The Dane is eventually forced off the ball.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
West Ham kick off and the action is back underway at the London Stadium.
HALF TIME !Knauff gave Eintracht a dream start in the opening minute with a close-range header from Borre's brilliant ball behind the West Ham defence but the hosts rallied and hit a post before Antonio levelled things up.
The Frankfurt 'keeper calmly claims Bowen's corner kick from the right and we'll have one minute if added time at the end of a pulsating first half.
A West Ham set-piece finds Soucek leaning back and heading wide of the target.
KNAUFF IN AGAIN
Borre thunders through the middle and feeds Knauff. Cresswell makes a decisive sliding tackle but Knauff pounces on the loose ball, spins and fires over the top. That was a very good chance for Die Adler.
Frankfurt get themselves into a lot of trouble at the back. Hinteregger gives the ball away and the lurking Antonio almost punishes the defender.
KOSTIC HAS A GO
After a pulsating opening half hour, things are, perhaps understandably, calming a little. Eintracht ping it about a bit and the ball comes to Kostic, who shanks a left-footer off target,
Kostic with the step-over and then cross, which causes West Ham plenty of concern despite the lack of Frankfurt players attacking. Rice nudges it out just in case.
KAMADA DRIVES FORWARD Brilliant run from Kamada onto Kostic's pass along the floor. The Japanese international turns Dawson inside out and hits a cross-shot that deflects off Zouma and goes out for a corner.
Toure plays a loose pass back for Trapp but it's arcing away from the 'keeper, who adjusts his feet under pressure and manages to clear.
HOSTS LEVEL UP
West ham are on terms and it's Antonio who stretches to push the ball over the line, despite the best efforts from Trapp to keep it out.
SUPERB ENTERTAINMENT It's been an all-action semi-final first leg thus far. Eintracht dominated the early stages following that quick-fire goal from Knauff but West Ham have gradually regained confidence.
WEST HAM GAINING GROUND
Bowen lifts one to the far post towards Antonio at the back stick but he's forced out and the hosts win a corner, which comes to nothing.
WEST HAM HIT THE POST
Bowen bursts through the middle and sends a low shot at goal that has Trapp beaten. The ball bounces back off the base of the post and away from danger.
EINTRACHT IN COMMAND
The visitors are bossing the ball at the moment. Rode, Kostic and Kamada are looking supremely confident as Frankfurt probe for more openings.
The Frankfurt attacker races onto a through ball and for a second looks as if he might be in for a big chance. Areola is quickly out to claim that one, however.
It hasn't taken him long. Kostic whips one in from the left which Zouma watches all the way and heads out to safety.
EINTRACHT FANS BOUNCING
The Die Adler supporters are jumping up and down in unison as the home fans stand in silence. An incredible opening to this game bodes well for an intense night of action ahead.
WHAT A START !
Knauff is around the back of the West Ham defence and gets onto Borre's superbly flighted ball over the top before heading home from close range. The Eagles are flying !
KICK OFF !
Frankfurt, in white shirts, black shorts and white socks, get us underway.
HERE COME THE TEAMS !
A superb atmosphere greets both teams in the English capital. It's time for the Europa League anthem.
IT'S ALMOST TIME !
The London Stadium is full and bursting with atmosphere as we edge ever closer to kick off. The teams are approaching the tunnel and are about to take to the pitch.
WATCH: KOSTIC - EINTRACHT'S ASSIST MACHINEFrankfurt's flying No.10 is expected to play a key role for the visitors tonight. The 29-year-old has racked up four goals and nine assists in the Bundesliga so far this term while in Europe, he has a Europa League-leading five assists to his name.
WEST HAM TEAM NEWS
Zouma has shaken off an ankle complaint and starts in defence for the hosts while Rice, Bowen, Antonio and Lanzini - benched at the weekend - are back in the side, as is goalkeeper Areola.
FRANKFURT TEAM NEWS
With Jakic and N'Dicka suspended for the Eagles, Sow and Tuta are in Frankfurt's Starting XI tonight. Kostic will look to add to his competition leading five assists while Borre - who boasts nine goals in all competitions so far in 2021/22 - leads the line.
Grahl, Hora, Hrustic, Lammers, Hasebe, Ache, Chandler, Hauge, Da Costa, Lenz, Barkok, Paciencia
FRANKFURT STARTING LINE-UP
Trapp - Tuta, Hinteregger, Toure - Knauff, Sow, Rode (c), Kostic - Lindstrom, Kamada - Borre
WEST HAM SUBS
Fabianski, Randolph, Coufal, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble, Benrahma, Fredericks, Masuaku, Kral, Alese, Chesters
WEST HAM STARTING LINE-UP
Areola - Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell - Soucek, Rice (c), Fornals - Bowen, Antonio, Lanzini
EINTRACHT'S ADDED INCENTIVE
Eintracht have further reason to reach this season's Europa League final in Seville. Last weekend's 2-2 draw against Hoffenheim made it extremely unlikely that Die Adler will qualify for European football next season via the Bundesliga route, with Glasner's side currently ninth in the standings. Win the Europa League and Frankfurt will be in the Champions League next season.
SOW SETS THE TONE Spine-tingling words from Eintracht midfielder, Djibril Sow, ahead of tonight's first leg: “You play football for matches like this. You can sense a certain special tension even days before the game. You don’t need any extra motivation. We’ve got a big opportunity to achieve something unbelievable this year.”
ROAD TO THE SEMIS
Tonight's hosts were winners of their Europa League group and went on to oust Sevilla and Lyon to reach the last four. Eintracht also topped their section before knocking out Real Betis in the Round of 16 and then Barcelona in the last eight.
VISITORS BOAST TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE
Eintracht have reached the knockout stage in all four of their participations in the Europa League in its current format and were last in the tournament's semi-finals back in 2018/19, when they lost to Chelsea on penalties.
ASSIST KING KOSTICHands up who predicts a Kostic goal assist or two tonight ! Eintracht's No.10 is the leading assist provider in this season's Europa League with five. He also has three goals, two of which came in the 3-2, quarter-final, second leg win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
Eintracht coach, Glasner, was in good spirits in yesterday's pre-game press conference, the tactician beginning his address by saying: "[Our] team’s in good shape. We have a lot of respect for West Ham, but we’re going into the game with a lot of confidence.”
WELCOME ALONG !
We're all set for this evening's UEFA Europa League semi-final, first leg between West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt! The challenge is on for Oliver Glasner's Eagles to get a solid result to take back to Frankfurt for next week's second leg.