After coming from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw in last week’s enthralling first leg at the Estadio do Dragoa, the Eagles have given themselves every chance of progressing beyond the round of 32 for the first time since their whirlwind run to the quarter-finals of the now defunct UEFA Cup back in 1995.
Captain Pirmin Schwegler, however, is refusing to get ahead of himself just yet. “Porto are a really tough outfit that normally play in the [UEFA] Champions League,” he warned. “We’re not going anywhere with just the 2-2 draw behind us, but we’ve put ourselves in a good position to progress.”
Eintracht have won seven of their nine Europa League games this term, the only defeat being a 4-2 loss at Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC in the group stage, and boast an unblemished record at the Commerzbank, averaging at least two goals a game in their four home wins to date. By contrast, Porto are without a win in six European outings (D3, L3) since beating FK Austria Wien 1-0 in their opening Champions League group stage fixture earlier in the campaign.
'We have a chance'
The statisticians’ handbook notwithstanding, veteran striker Alexander Meier nevertheless believes visitors Porto to be the “clear favourites” to face either Swansea FC or Napoli SSC in the next round. “They’re really physical and strong,” he affirmed. “But as long as we all fight and have a bit of luck, we have a chance.”
In any case, head coach Armin Veh will have to make changes to the side that battled back from the brink in Oporto, with Takashi Inui and Alexander Madlung waiting in the wings following a probable season-ending injury to right-sided midfielder Sebastian Rode and centre-back Marco Russ’ suspension.
Eintracht: Trapp – Jung, Zambrano, Madlung, Oczipka – Inui, Schwegler – Barnetta, Meier, Aigner – Joselu
Porto: Helton – Danilo, Maicon, Mangala, Alex Sandro – Fernando, Herrera – Josué – Varela, Ricardo Quaresma – Jackson