Europe: Europa League
Deutsche Bank Park (Frankfurt am Main)
By Rafael Garrido Reinoso
Eintracht look to make history and take advantage of the away victory achieved in London to reach the Europa League final. West Ham will try to turn around the fixture after their second consecutive league defeat.
That Frankfurt lost 2-0 against Bayer Leverkusen on Monday is not relevant news, they forgot about the Bundesliga a long time ago, and it seems as if they are a completely different team in Europe.
What is news is that Oliver Glasner finally rotated the squad this Monday, distributing minutes between the players that were starters against West Ham and will be once again this Thursday. Much needed rest after a rally of several consecutive matches with the same block.
Oliver Glasner addressed the media this Wednesday, stating that all his players are available as well as physically and mentally fit, with the sole exception of Jesper Lindstrøm.
The availability of the Danish wizard will be a “photo-finish” one, according to the trainer, who didn’t have the most positive expression on his face when saying it.
Kristijan Jakic and Obite Evan Ndicka return after their respective suspensions.
Glasner also sent a message to the SGE fans by saying the team knows they’re going to play to win with the whole stadium backing them, even saying that he feels as if all of Germany is an Eintracht fan tomorrow.
Captain Sebastian Rode also took part in the press conference, saying they know how hard the game will be and that they have to be fully aware from the first minute.
The Hammers arrive in Frankfurt after another defeat against a hard opponent in Arsenal.
The calendar and the 3 substitutions rule in the Premier League are definitely making things harder for David Moyes.
All the starting players against Frankfurt except for Soucek, Areola, and Antonio started against Arsenal, with both field players coming in in the second half.
David Moyes said in the press conference they are aware they have to chased the game as they are behind, but they have to manage it well enough and not necessarily from the first minute.
He also hinted that sometimes managing an advantage is also a worrying thing.
Jarrod Bowen congratulated the SGE fans that supported their team in London, stating that he expects nothing less than an excellent atmosphere at Frankfurt.
Regarding his team’s fitness, the Scottish manager said that everyone is fit at the moment.
Ben Johnson had a strain but “seems to be ok”, while Issa Diop has made a great recovery and is fit to play.
Moyes acknowledged Diop is not at 100%, but stated that at this stage of the season risks need to be taken.
Personnel-wise not much is expected to change in both teams.
In case Glasner does not force Lindstrøm, Jens Petter Hauge could start; although he does not fit the role quite fully, with his characteristics making him better to attack the spaces and to dribble down the wing, not linking up as much as Lindstrøm.
Glasner was asked about the possible variant of pushing Ansgar Knauff forward and adding a defender, with the Austrian replying that they’ve thought about it as well as adding Jakic with Rode and Sow in a midfield trio.
Ndicka will play instead of Touré.
Frankfurt’s XI will also have something to do with what Glasner thinks will be West Ham’s possible variants.
With Coufal probably starting and the possible return of Diop if risked, it is possible to see David Moyes electing to use a back of three of Zouma, Diop and Dawson while leaving the wings for Cresswell and Coufal.
That would also mean that one of either Fornals, Lanzini, or Benrahma stay on the bench, as Soucek and Rice are untouchable.
Lanzini has not had a good streak of games recently although he is a very important player, while Fornals has performed good, not least defensively, being the more physical of the two creative midfielders.
Benrahma played incredibly when he came in, taking advantage of Knauff’s diminished stamina the last half hour of the match and beating Tuta 1v1 too.
However, his performance against Arsenal was not the best, and he might work better as a second half substitution.
In London, both clubs showed they similarities, with both teams waiting for the other in a solid middle block to cancel their biggest threat: the long passes behind the defense and the quick offensive transitions.
From Frankfurt’s perspective, Die Adler completely controlled West Ham during the first 20 minutes.
The key will lie in the individual duels, whoever wins them will create huge danger; Frankfurt was in control until Michail Antonio started to win duels, especially against Tuta.
Daichi Kamada and Jesper Lindstrøm, until his injury, executed their roles perfectly; understanding when to drop for the build-up and when to go forward to attack the spaces; all while being aware to form the defensive line.
Kamada’s goal was a proof of what Frankfurt, and especially those two, can produce when being patient attacking a set defense.
Rode’s forced addition actually worked well for Frankfurt, as the veteran midfielder helped Martin Hinteregger in the build-up, providing the security pass and organizing the set attack. It is safe to think Rode will start.
The Hammers recognized this well, as when either one of Hinteregger or Rode had the ball, the English squad would retreat the pressing in higher positions.
Whereas when other player such as Saw or Toure prepared to receive a pass, they quickly pressed, knowing they had a better chance at stealing the ball without the risk of allowing a direct pass to any of Eintracht’s attacking players.
Frankfurt will have to limit the amount of duels lost and mistakes made in order to keep the advantage alive, as Glasner said, they’ll need a better game to move to the final in Sevilla.
Die Adler know they have a shot at making history, and playing at home with the roar of their fans, the stage is set for an incredible night at Frankfurt.
Final lineups are posted before start.
Leverkusen – Frankfurt 2-0
|35||L. Melo ↪46|
|20||M. Hasebe (C)|
|10||F. Kostić ↪46|
|21||R. Ache ↪73|
|23||J. Hauge ↪46|
|39||G. Paciência ↪82|
|9||S. Lammers ↩46|
|36||A. Knauff ↩46|
|18||A. Touré ↩46|
|24||D. da Costa|
|8||D. Sow ↩73|
|15||D. Kamada ↩82|
West Ham – Arsenal 1-2
|16||M. Noble (C) ↪77|
|10||M. Lanzini ↪71|
|22||S. Benrahma ↪81|
|20||J. Bowen ⚽|
|7||A. Yarmolenko ↩81|
|9||M. Antonio ↩71|
|28||T. Souček ↩77|