An overjoyed Oliver Glasner praised his side’s ability to withstand a resilient West Ham, as Eintracht Frankfurt qualified for the Europa League final on Thursday.
Carrying a slender 2-1 lead on aggregate into Thursday’s second leg, Eintracht gave themselves critical breathing room with Rafael Borre’s 26th-minute goal, eventually winning 1-0 on the night and going through 3-1 over the tie.
Even with West Ham needing to chase the game, Aaron Cresswell’s first-half dismissal meant Eintracht had the majority of possession, yet they still gave up higher-quality chances. A 10-man West Ham actually generated a higher xG of 1.62 in comparison to the hosts’ 1.13 over the 90 minutes.
Nevertheless, Glasner was proud of his team’s defensive effort.
“Slowly something is falling into place,” he said post-match. “What the team did again was unbelievable. West Ham threw everything in the balance of the game.
“It was a difficult early phase and with West Ham facing elimination we played really well and scored a great goal. In the second half we defended the long balls and set pieces with everything we had.
“We said to the players: ‘I don’t know if you are the best players or if we are the best coaches. But we are exceptional as a group and together we can be the best.’ It was a wonderful evening.”
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 West Ham
Eintracht Frankfurt are headed to their first European final since 1980.#UEL pic.twitter.com/Y7m6HP1Vqr
— The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) May 5, 2022
With the win, Eintracht secured their first European final in 42 years, when they won the UEFA Cup in the 1979-80.
Despite a fiercely contested game which saw eight yellow cards and two red cards, including the dismissal of West Ham boss David Moyes, the final whistle saw fans at the Deutsche Bank Park flood the pitch in jubilant scenes.
Following the match, Glasner did not hide or play down the gravity of the occasion or what awaits in Seville.
“It’s the best thing when you can make so many people happy,” he said. “There is always tension in the game.
“I saw yesterday that you can lead 1-0 in the 90th minute and then be 2-1 behind two minutes later. If that can happen to Manchester City, it can happen anywhere, anytime. After that, this recognition is wonderful after the final whistle. It’s an evening you’ll never forget.
“I said in the dressing room that I don’t even know what to say before [Borussia Monchengladbach] in three days. For us, it’s all about this final.”
#SGEuropa #SGEWHU #UEL pic.twitter.com/nbRyqPdfY6
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@Eintracht) May 5, 2022
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