Europe: Europa League
Eintracht visit London to face West Ham in the first leg of the Europa League semifinal; Die Adler look to return home with a good result despite the losses of Ndicka and Jakic and continue with the European dream.
Eintracht Frankfurt will try to keep on the dream of reaching the Europa League final alive after their historic display in Barcelona.
The SGE are up against a club that mirrors several aspects of the idea of game of the Germans.
This time, however, Die Adler’s fans would not be able to support their time at the stadium the way they did at the Camp Nou, as West Ham took precautions and their fans seem more interested in supporting their club.
Oliver Glasner’s squad arrive in London after a tie at home against Hoffenheim, where they played well and were more dominant, but their constant defensive distractions cost them once more.
When asked about his team’s fitness, Glasner answered that right now there is no fatigue among his ranks.
Glasner stated that West Ham’s style of game is similar to Eintracht’s, and that the club is confident in the analysis made of their rivals.
The Austrian coach has two key players suspended in Ndicka and Jakic, but the rest of the squad is ready to take on West Ham.
The use of a very consistent starting XI and a style of play throughout the whole season means the squad for the clash is pretty much clear.
Oliver Glasner has shown he is not a very experimental coach, so it’s safe to think Djibril Sow is going to come back to form the midfield duo with Rode.
The only doubt is who covers the spot in the 3-man defense, Almamy Toure played against Barcelona and performed solidly, but some reports still indicate the veteran Makoto Hasebe has a shot at starting.
Meanwhile, The Hammers get to the game sitting 7th in the Premier League table.
Similar to Frankfurt, the UEL victory seems to be the only shot at playing in European competition for the English side.
West Ham lost last weekend at the last minute against Chelsea, but David Moyes rotated some key players, meaning he’ll probably start with his regular team.
Issa Diop will be out injured while starting center-back Kourt Zouma is still in doubt.
The French defender was previously ruled out, but some inside information from the West Ham camp said he allegedly could be available.
The Irons present a very different challenge than Eintracht’s last 2 fixtures against the Spanish teams, both tactically and physically.
Eintracht are preparing for West Ham to deploy either a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-4-3, as said by Frankfurt’s opponent analyst Niklas Lanwehr.
Despite West Ham have not used the 3-4-3 yet in the UEL, they have displayed it in specific game scenarios.
The squad trained by David Moyes has traits of a very English team, being very solid throughout their lines and well organized in defense.
The Hammers used frequently Michael Antonio’s physicality to exploit the spaces between the center-backs and the fullbacks, either for him to run behind or to pin up and win the second ball.
Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini add the quality touch and creativity to a very strong side.
West Ham and Eintracht find themselves among the teams that feel more comfortable without having to carry the possession of the ball the whole game, it’s going to be interesting who takes the step forward to control the ball a bit more.
As another example of Glasner’s statement, both teams rely on their counter-attacks as a product of their intensity.
However, despite West Ham having plenty of physical players, they’re one of the sides that commit fewer fouls per game in the Premier League; and in the same manner, they’re also the worst at generating them offensively despite having a great set-piece weapon in Creswell.
On the other hand, Eintracht are well accustomed to swiftly cutting counter-attacks with tactical fouls as well as not allowing the opponents to turn around when receiving the ball and face the goal.
The battle down the wings is going to be crucial for the outcome of the game, as both teams are heavy crossers and focus their attacks through the sides despite doing it with some differences.
West Ham’s main man Declan Rice drops between the center-backs, allowing both fullbacks to push forward; Fornals, Benrahma, and Lanzini move to the half-spaces to link up and to try to collect the second ball if it’s played to Antonio.
Both Eintracht’s central midfielders must be very aware of covering the spaces behind Kostic and Knauff or the centre-backs if one of them jumps to press, as well as not to lose sight of those three playmakers.
Die Adler completely demolished Barcelona with their fast offensive transitions, launching quick passes down the defenders’ backs, either from a long pass from the back or with quick combinations through Kamada and Lindstrøm.
Both cross the ball very frequently, but also allow the same spaces in the defensive end. The aerial duels following these crosses are also going to play a role, as both teams have strength in that area.
Final lineups are posted before start.
Chelsea – West Ham 1-0
|16||M. Noble (C) ↪62|
|7||A. Yarmolenko ↪73|
|22||S. Benrahma ↪78|
|20||J. Bowen ↩73|
|10||M. Lanzini ↩78|
|41||D. Rice ↩62|
Frankfurt – Hoffenheim 2-2
|2||E. N’Dicka ⚽ ⚽|
|36||A. Knauff ↪86|
|17||S. Rode (C) ↪67|
|29||J. Lindstrøm ↪78|
|15||D. Kamada ⚽ ↪79|
|19||R. Borré ↪67|
|21||R. Ache ↩78|
|23||J. Hauge ↩67|
|39||G. Paciência ↩86|
|7||A. Hrustic ↩67|
|8||D. Sow ↩79|