Europa League Final: Eintracht Frankfurt crowned as champions after beating Rangers in penalty shootouts

Eintracht Frankfurt’s 42-year drought for a European championship came to an end in the Europa League final with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory against Glasgow Rangers.

On Wednesday night, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp made a spectacular stop at the end of extra time and another in the shootout to help Frankfurt win. After a full extra time, the score was 1-1.

Colombian striker Rafael Borré, who equalized for Frankfurt in the second half, converted the deciding penalty to give the club its first European championship since the 1980 UEFA Cup, a precursor to the Europa League. The victory also assures Frankfurt’s first berth in the Champions League next season.

“It feels amazing,” Trapp added. “I’m still trying to catch my breath.” For us, Frankfurt, and the whole area. It’s a good thing for Germany as a whole. It’s an honor to be able to give back to our supporters in this manner.”

Eintracht Frankfurt

Trapp, a former PSG goalkeeper, made a crucial save in the last minutes of extra time by extending out a leg to save Ryan Kent’s close-range attempt. The veteran goalkeeper saved Aaron Ramsey’s penalty in the shootout, sparking wild jubilation from Frankfurt’s “white wall” of supporters behind the opposing goal in Seville’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

Back in Germany, there were wild celebrations as Frankfurt supporters crowded the club’s stadium to watch a live stream of the final.

Joe Aribo put Rangers ahead in the 57th minute, and Borré equalized in the 69th for Frankfurt, who became the third side to go undefeated in the Europa League following Chelsea in 2019 and Villarreal in 2021.

Ramsey, the former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder, came in in the last minutes of extra time to take a penalty in the shootout. Frankfurt’s penalty shootout goals came from Christopher Lenz, Ajdin Hrustic, Daichi Kamada, and Filip Kostic, while Rangers’ shootout goals came from James Tavernier, Steven Davis, Scott Airfield, and Kemar Roofe.

Aaron Ramsey

“When you reach to this point of contests, it’s the little margins,” Rangers captain Tavernier remarked. “It was in our hands, but we surrendered the goal, and Trapp comes up with a tremendous stop from Ryan Kent.” Then he comes up with the save in the shootout, and we’re all sad.”

Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes Kent’s error was crucial.

“You’ve got to score them, particularly in the closing few minutes,” he remarked.

Rangers were attempting to capture their first European trophy since winning the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972. In the 2008 UEFA Cup, the Scottish club was defeated by Zenit St Petersburg. It was attempting to finish off a 10-year return after being demoted to the lower divisions due to a financial collapse.

“It’ll be a tough one to swallow,” Rangers midfielder Davis remarked. “We understand how tough it will be to reach this point again.”

Frankfurt became the first Bundesliga club to win the Europa League or UEFA Cup since Schalke defeated Inter Milan on penalties in 1997.

Frankfurt will compete in Europe’s top division for the first time since 1960 when it fell in the European Cup final to Real Madrid in Glasgow.

The game had been relatively equal when Frankfurt’s Brazilian defender Tuta slipped while chasing down a straightforward back header. That enabled Aribo to go by him and calmly smash a low shot past Trapp at Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium.

Tuta was hurt in the incident and had to be replaced. Aribo’s goal was his first in the Europa League this season.

Borré slotted in between two defenders to convert a cross from the left-wing by Kostic 12 minutes later. He came from underneath Calvin Bassey, the center defender, to shoot the ball past experienced goalie Allan McGregor.

Before the game, there was fan violence outside the stadium, with fans from both sides hurling chairs and tables at one other. The night prior, five German supporters were arrested after a clash with police.

More than 150,000 people descended on the southern Spanish city, the majority of them lacked tickets to the final at the 43,000-seat stadium.

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