The Eagles have acquitted themselves remarkably to their European commitments this season, and perhaps it's small wonder, considering the staggering support they are enjoying in their first continental campaign for six years.
As many as 44,000 fans took in Frankfurt’s opening 3-0 win against FC Girondins de Bordeaux on Matchday 1, with similar numbers expected for this home game. Those fans that do attend will be expecting more fireworks from Armin Veh's team, who also ran out 3-0 winners on Matchday 2 away at FC APOEL.
“When I read that 8,000 to 12,000 Frankfurt fans are going to follow us to Bordeaux, then that’s not normal,” said coach Armin Veh. “That’s extraordinary, which is why we are taking this competition very seriously. There’s an air of anticipation for European football. It’s great to be able to measure ourselves against teams we wouldn't normally play against. We The way the fans are taking to our games is fantastic here in Frankfurt.”
Srdjan Lakic says the optimism is spreading to the team, who are keen to ensure the fans go home happy. “It’s a real highlight for us to be able to gauge where we are on a European level,” he said. “The euphoria in the city is huge and the fans are supporting us, and I hope that we can give our maximum and go a long way. How far that is, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Three points on Thursday night would put the four-time DFB Cup winners on course to seal progression to the knockout rounds with one or even two games to spare, and it's an opportunity Lakic is keen to seize. "The motivation is high,” he said. “We want to win and to do that, we need goals. That is the motivation."
Frankfurt: Trapp - S. Jung, Zambrano, Anderson, Oczipka - Russ - Rode, Barnetta - Meier - Aigner, Kadlec
Maccabi: Juan Pablo - Ziv, Tibi, Carlos Garcia, Ben Harush - Alberman, Yeini, Radi, Zahavi - Prica, Itzhaki