Eintracht Frankfurt confident before the SSC Naples game
Nfter the 2-0 win over Werder Bremen, the Eintracht players had a favorite line, and they all liked to look ahead. “We’re ready for the game,” he said. goalkeeper Kevin Trap took his mouth and winger Ansgar Knauff as well.
Both cheerfully referred to the Frankfurt Champions League game this Tuesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and at Prime Video) in the Waldstadion against the SSC Naples, which is the first of two clashes in the round of 16. Sixth in the Bundesliga table against the sovereign leader of the Italian Serie A, that is the short formula of the eagerly awaited European showdown.
“We’re ready for the game.” Knauff, who missed a goal in the duel with Werder, explained why: “We need everything against Napoli. And we have everything to beat the opponent.” It sounds so simple. The loan player from Borussia Dortmund led the Frankfurt goal threat into the field. “We always have our chances to score goals,” he said. And the Frankfurters could also defend well.
Napoli are dangerous
Trapp remained almost unemployed against the harmless and unimaginative Bremen team. He firmly expects that to change on Tuesday. For the national goalkeeper is Naples a “big chunk, that will be a completely different game”. With a fabulous 15 point lead, Napoli leads the Serie A rankings, the club lost only one of 23 league games against Inter Milan (0:1).
56 goals scored in 23 matches means twelve more than the second Inter Milan and nearly four times as many as bottom US Cremonese (8 points). Two of the top five goalscorers in the league come from Naples: Nigerian top scorer Victor Osimhen (18 goals in 19 games), who once failed to impress in Wolfsburg, and fourth-placed Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (10 goals) from Georgia.
The team from the city on Vesuvius has been in great shape for months. This bitter experience made in the premier class Ajax Amsterdam (1: 6 and 2: 4), Glasgow Rangers (twice 0: 3) and Liverpool (1: 4). In Serie A, Juventus lost 5-1 to the title contender in mid-January.
While Naples fell back to third place behind Inter and AC Milan in the final spurt of the championship last season, this time the third title win should be achieved in a targeted manner. With the thrashing of Turin, the Neapolitans “sent a message to themselves,” said SSC trainer Luciano Spalletti. Those who don’t let themselves be stopped on the way to master’s honors. And also the ones Champions League wanting to continue taking by storm.
Grow with the tasks
Naples certainly does not have the biggest names in the prominent field of participants in the premier class. Quite a few consider the Italians to be the best-functioning team among the greats at the moment. A team that oozes self-confidence with its winning mentality. But that now meets an opponent who is also convinced of his performance.
Especially on the big stage, the Europa League winner has shown that he is constantly growing with his tasks. That he is capable of a lot when it comes to the big picture and highlights can be set. “We have exactly the same chance as Naples,” said Eintracht sports director Markus Krösche on Saturday. “Our chances are good. Napoli are a good team and we have a good team.”
Krösche is aware that Eintracht needs a “top performance” to reach the quarter-finals. Just as the Italians have great respect for the rise of the Hessians to a serious size. Napoli does not want to make the mistake made by FC Barcelona in the previous season of underestimating the clout of the then outsider. According to their own assessment, the Italians calculate with a fifty-fifty chance against Eintracht and wish for two spectacular and high-scoring games with a positive outcome for them.
Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner diligently watched video material about the Neapolitans. He is also impressed by their winning streak and tactical orientation with, for example, “very aggressive counter-pressing. Atypically Italian” the championship contender draws on his successful game.
Captain Rode’s value
Nevertheless, the Austrian identified weaknesses in the opponent’s system, as is always the case. “We’ve discovered a space or two to exploit,” he said. Whether the football coach in gaining space on the pitch Sebastian Rode can count was unclear on Saturday. With a flu infection, the captain had to stay in bed at home.
“Woman sick, child sick, father sick” – this is how Glasner summarized the course of the disease in the Rode house. “We will do everything to ensure that Sebastian is fit on Tuesday,” announced Glasner. Rode proved his immense value to the team in the final group game against Sporting Lisbon, when he drove his team-mates to victory with a rousing, energetic performance.
Victory over Bremen in the preliminary program to the premier class was never in danger. Glasner enjoyed the “discipline and alertness” of his team. All in all, she got three points in overdrive. Only at the end, when the substitutes Faride Alidou and Rafael Borré showed an all too casual duel behavior, the coach got angry.
For a moment he entered the field. “I also wanted to taste the grass, not just the artificial grass that is out there. And that the shoes get dirty, that I can clean them,” Glasner explained his advance into forbidden territory. The trainer quickly found his sense of humor again.