Eintracht Frankfurt: “What’s going on here breaks all boundaries” – Sport
The return home with the Europa League trophy was a unique triumph for Eintracht Frankfurt. An estimated 200,000 people celebrated trainer Oliver Glasner and his team on Thursday in Frankfurt for winning the Europe League and even brought tears to one or the other in the Eintracht entourage. “The best thing about success is how happy people are,” emphasized Glasner.
The motorcade from the airport to Frankfurt’s Römer took well over three hours, where tens of thousands of people had already gathered at lunchtime to celebrate their loved ones on the balcony. Club legend Karl-Heinz Körbel, who was there in 1980 when he won the only international title, kept shaking his head in disbelief at the overwhelming reception. “What’s going on here breaks all boundaries. It goes down in the history of Eintracht Frankfurt a. This fan culture is unique,” said the Bundesliga record player.
The pros enjoyed bathing in the crowd. “I’m overwhelmed,” said Martin Hinteregger, who played in the Sevilla final against the Glasgow Rangers had to watch hurt. Chairman of the Supervisory Board Philip Holzer admitted: “I have tears in my eyes at how much joy we bring people.”
Even Glasner mutated into a party beast
Before the party in Frankfurt, the players had turned night into day after winning the 5:4 penalty drama against the Scottish runners-up. “It was merry and lively and went on until six in the morning,” reported CEO Axel Hellmann after landing in Frankfurt from the lavish victory celebrations in a posh club in the southern Spanish metropolis.
Even the otherwise so calm Glasner – who hardly let the trophy out of his hand during the motorcade through the city – mutated into a party beast. “I let the pig out and party until Saturday – and on Sunday I’m going on vacation,” announced the 47-year-old soccer teacher from Austria.
After winning the Uefa Cup 42 years ago, the Eintracht professionals felt like they were in a fairy tale after winning the second international title in the club’s history – in addition to the massive cup, they also secured their first participation in the Champions League. A sporting and financial quantum leap for the traditional club, which a few years ago was called the “moody diva of the Main”. “It will take a few years before you realize the scope,” said Rode, who was suffering from a head wound. And Kevin Trapp emphasized: “We have always looked for superlatives, but there is simply no word to describe it.”
The national goalkeeper was one of the heroes of the dramatic final. The 31-year-old first saved his team with a brilliant save shortly before the end of extra time in the penalty shoot-out, in which he then parried Aaron Ramsey’s attempt. Then there was extra praise from national coach Hansi Flick. “Kevin showed a great and outstanding performance.”
After Rafael Borré converted the last penalty to make it 5: 4, pure ecstasy reigned – also in the stands of the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán and at home, where almost 60,000 fans in and around the Frankfurt stadium had their fingers crossed at the public viewing .
The Bundesliga also benefits from Frankfurt’s appearance
The success, which almost nine million people watched in front of their TV sets, was the culmination of a rapid development in recent years. In 2017, the Hessians lost the DFB Cup final against Borussia Dortmund, in which they triumphed against Bayern Munich a year later. In 2019, they reached the semi-finals of the Europa League and now they have had great success with an impeccable record: Eintracht did not lose a single one of 13 games.
“The Eintracht Frankfurt brand has already become international in recent years, and now it has gained even more appeal. Eintracht is a role model for many clubs, not just in Germany,” said DFB director Oliver Bierhoff in recognition of the fruitful work on the Main.
With their appearance in Europe, the Hessians also gave the Bundesliga international renown. After all, the last German title win in this competition was 25 years ago. “This is an outstanding success for Eintracht Frankfurt and also for German football,” said Hans-Joachim Watzke, chairman of the supervisory board of the German Football League and managing director of runners-up Borussia Dortmund. “All I can say is: Welcome to the Champions League.”
Eintracht will have a foretaste of the premier class on August 10th at the Supercup. Then the opponent in Helsinki is either FC Liverpool or Real Madrid. So far, opponents of this caliber have at best only been dreamed of on the Main. Frankfurt showed “what team spirit and enthusiasm mean and what successes are possible when a team, a club and the entire city are passionate about a common goal,” Bierhoff said.
“There will be no hara-kiri in this club,” confirms President Peter Fischer
When the celebrations are over, the Eintracht officials want to calmly discuss the strategy for the near future. The prospects are bright. “Of course, the additional income after two years of Corona is good. That will help us a lot for the future,” said sports director Markus Krösche. Also in contract talks with top performers like Filip Kostic. Glasner is convinced that the winger, who tried to force a move to Lazio with a strike last summer, will stay: “He still has a year of contract. I don’t think it was his last game.”
One thing is already clear: despite all the growth opportunities, the association wants to remain true to itself. “The Champions League is of course exceptional for Eintracht Frankfurt, but we will not change our transfer strategy,” announced Krösche. And the “incredibly proud” President Peter Fischer confirmed: “The competition is getting tougher and fiercer. But we’re not going to buy big now because we’ve qualified for the Champions League. There will be no hara-kiri in this club.”