There was slight skepticism when Oliver Glasner rocked up in Hesse last summer following the departure of much-beloved Adi Hutter to Monchengladbach, but the Austrian tactician has succeeded his compatriot with flying colours, lifting 2021/22’s Europa League to guide Eintracht Frankfurt to the Champions League for the first time ever.
Die Adler are, of course, no strangers on the continental circuit, with a young Sir Alex Ferguson famously watching on at Hampden Park as Real Madrid beat Frankfurt 7-3 in the European Cup final in 1960. That particular tale served as a pertinent pre-match subplot to Frankfurt’s Europa League final win over Ferguson’s former club Rangers earlier this summer.
Now back at Europe’s premier table, Frankfurt will be looking to cause another splash and reach the latter stages. Drawn into a potentially awkward group alongside Tottenham, Marseille and Sporting, the Bundesliga side will nevertheless fancy their chances of progression having avoided the likes of PSG, Man City, Real Madrid, et al.
Sporting have seen their ranks pillaged this summer, with talismanic midfield duo Matheus Nunes and Joao Palhinha leaving for Wolves and Fulham respectively, and their current eighth-placed standing in the Primeira Liga table reinforces an early-season concern. Still, Ruben Amorim has proven his worth as an elite coach and will be eyeing up a first win on Wednesday night to just placate any creeping feelings of malaise.
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Eintracht Frankfurt vs Sporting CP match stats
Daichi Kamada has a proven goalscoring track record in Europe, and he will now be looking to transfer that form over to the continent’s blue-riband competition. The smooth-operating Japanese midfielder was Frankfurt’s top scorer in their title-winning Europa League campaign (five goals), which took his total up to 11 goals in all major European competitions for Die Adler — that puts him behind only Bernd Holzenbein (18), Tony Yeboah (12) and Bernd Nickel (12) for the club in their all-time continental charts (excluding qualifiers).
Without creative wizard Filip Kostic, who left for Juventus in the summer, Frankfurt will need a new source of chance-creating inspiration. Former French Olympian Randal Kolo Muani joined the club in the summer from Nantes and has made a positive start to his Frankfurt career. The 6ft 2in forward has, not only bagged two Bundesliga goals, but he is also the club’s top assist provider in 2022/23 so far, setting up his team-mates on four occasions, and their current best playmaker, with a squad-high seven chances created.
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