Both Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers will be looking to end their campaigns on a massive high when they contest the Europa League final on Wednesday at 8pm (UK time).
Eintracht Frankfurt have history in European football, finishing runners-up to Real Madrid in the 1959/60 European Cup – which was nothing to be embarrassed by. They haven’t dined at Europe’s top table since but this is their route back to the big time and their chance of a first European trophy since the 1979/80 UEFA Cup.
On the other side of this fixture, Rangers are looking to seal their first European trophy since the 1971/72 Cup Winners’ Cup in their first final since the 2007/08 UEFA Cup when they lost to Zenit. It comes in a season that saw Rangers change managers midway through the campaign, replacing Aston Villa-bound Steven Gerrard with Gio van Bronckhorst, thriving in Europe despite losing their Scottish Premiership title.
But what’s going to happen in the match? We’ve come up with five predictions…
Betfair welcome offer: How to get up £30 in free bets
- Follow THIS LINK (or click the image below) to set up an account using the code ZBGC01.
- Place a £10 Sportsbook bet.
- Get £30 in Free Bets.
*New customers place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly. 18+ only. Please play responsibly. For more information, visit begambleaware.org
1. James Tavernier to claim the Golden Boot
Yes, you read that right, James Tavernier – defender James Tavernier – to win the Golden Boot.
The Rangers man goes into the game as the leading goalscorer in the Europa League this season, netting seven goals in 13 appearances, from just eight shots on target – one more than Karl Toko-Ekambi and Galeno.
There’s extra reason for Eintracht Frankfurt to be worried too. All seven of Tavernier’s goals have come in the knockout stages of the Europa League and four were scored against German opposition (three vs Borussia Dortmund and one vs RB Leipzig).
Sure, four goals have come from the penalty spot, but Eintracht Frankfurt have conceded three penalties in the Europa League this season.
Should Tavernier take the crown, he’d become the first defender to win the Golden Boot in a European competition since Ronald Koeman in 1993/94 – though Koeman’s eight goals for Barcelona in the Champions League saw him joint-winner alongside Wynton Rufer.
You have to be 18+ to gamble. UK only. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (21:00, 17/05/2022). Be Gamble Aware.
2. Filip Kostic to cause problems
Eintracht Frankfurt have their own threat to cause Rangers problems, however.
Filip Kostic was part of the Eintracht Frankfurt team that made it to the semi-finals of the 2018/19 Europa League, on loan from Hamburg at the time, making his move permanent that summer. And he’s become an integral part of their playing style since.
This season, as a hybrid wing-back/wide midfielder, Kostic has put in more crosses (147), created more chances (23) and provided more assists (three) than any other Eintracht player in the Europa League. Over the competition as a whole, only Braga’s Ricardo Horta (27) has created more chances than Kostic this season.
SBK betting offer: Bet £10, get £10 in free bets
Eligible readers* interested in this SBK betting offer can follow THIS LINK or click the image below.
Enter code SBK10 to get your bonus. The maximum amount of free bets that can be awarded in this offer is £10. Users making their first deposit by Skrill, Neteller, Trustly, PayPal or a virtual/prepaid card will not qualify for this promotion. The offer can only be redeemed by residents of UK, Ireland and Malta only, who sign up and deposit between 16.00 GMT on 24th January, 2023 and 16:00 GMT on 10th March, 2023 and are not existing SBK/Smarkets Exchange users. 18+ only. T&Cs apply.
3. There will be goals
Finals are often cagey affairs but fans in Seville and watching from afar can be confident in some goals on Wednesday.
Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt are the two top-scoring teams in the Europa League this season, netting 22 and 20 goals respectively. Van Bronckhorst’s side have been particularly deadly in attack, with the highest xG (23.85) in the Europa League this season, but Eintracht Frankfurt have scored in every game so far.
However, the defences will also be tested – and neither Rangers nor Eintracht Frankfurt can call themselves secure. Rangers have the highest xGA (19.86) in the Europa League this season, while Eintracht Frankfurt have conceded in nine of their past 10 matches in the competition.
4. A tough game for Rangers
Eintracht Frankfurt aren’t going to make things easy for Rangers, and their gameplan could involve a bit of kicking.
The German side have conceded the most fouls in the Europa League this season with 186, while Rangers have actually won the most (159). Eintracht have also committed 10+ foul in every Europa League game this season and 15+ on seven occasions.
But they do get punished for it. Oliver Glasner’s side have picked up 25 yellow cards and two reds in their 12 games so far, with over half of the cautions coming in the quarter-finals and semi-finals. Against Barcelona they received six yellow cards across the two legs, before being shown seven vs West Ham.
5. Eintracht Frankfurt to take the crown
Whether they kick their opponents off the pitch or beat them through quality, all signs point towards Eintracht Frankfurt winning the 2021/22 Europa League.
The German side are yet to taste defeat in the Europa League this season
Eintracht Frankfurt are unbeaten in the UEL this season (7 wins, 5 draws) and have won five of the six games away from home in UEL in 2021/22, including all three away knockout games
They have also scored in every Europa League game so far while Rangers have won just one of their seven UEL games away from Ibrox (1 win, 2 draws, 4 defeats) and lost each of the last three (away)
Eintracht Frankfurt could become just the third side to win UEL without losing a single game after Chelsea (2018/19) & Villarreal (2020/21).