Eintracht Frankfurt v Rangers
Wednesday 18 May, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 1
Frankfurt approaching sporting immortality
German football loves its traditional clubs, which is why the rise of the likes of Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig and Wolfsburg in the 21st century at the expense of "traditionsvereine" like Schalke, Werder Bremen, Nürnberg and Hamburg rankles with so many. It's not a snootiness I particularly share or applaud, but when you look at fan culture, you can see the point.
Eintracht Frankfurt haven't been German champions since 1959, and their only European trophy was the UEFA Cup in 1980, and yet their fans give this the feel of a big club. They have travelled in their tens of thousands, taking over Camp Nou in the second leg of the quarter-final against Barcelona, and giving the team raucous support wherever it has gone in this competition. The love affair with the Europa League began in in the 2018-19 season, as the Eagles got all the way to the semi-finals, only to lose to Chelsea on penalties at Stamford Bridge. Now they have gone a step further, and victory in Seville would see coach Oliver Glasner and his side sung about for decades to come.
Glasner arrived in Frankfurt having led Wolfsburg to an impressive fourth spot last season (Wolfsburg have sacked two coaches since, having barely avoided the drop this term), and although he didn't find the consistency he wanted in the league, he has achieved some impressive results in this tournament.
Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham have all been vanquished in the knockout rounds, and it has been on the road where the Hessen club has really excelled. They have won in Seville, Barcelona and London, and they played well in all of those victories.
Glasner is without defensive man-mountain Martin Hinteregger because of injury, while it remains to be seen where Danish speedster Jesper Lindstrom will recover from injury in time to feature. If he doesn't, then Norwegian Jens Petter Hauge will probably start.
Rangers look to defy the odds one last time
For the first time since 2008, Rangers have reached a European final. On the occasion, they lost 2-0 to Russian giants Zenit in Manchester, but on the way they sparkled against the likes of Sporting and Fiorentina. This season, they have also produced some stirring displays, knocking out excellent German sides like Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, squeezing through a tough tie against Braga and swatting aside the challenge of Crvena Zvezda.
Rangers may have lost their domestic crown to their old foes Celtic, but securing European glory would perhaps see them eclipse the Bhoys for the second season running. After all, Celtic haven't won a European tournament since the Herculean efforts of the Lisbon Lions in 1967, Rangers' only European success came five years later in the Cup Winners' Cup, and Aberdeen were the last Scottish side to win a continental trophy back in 1983.
Right-back and captain James Tavernier has played a starring role, scoring a staggering seven goals, and finding the net just when the Glasgow behemoth needed him to. Remarkably, he scored three of their six goals in the two ties against Dortmund, and he found the net in the home games against Crvena Zvezda, Braga and Leipzig. Tavernier is 5.04/1 to find the net in the final, and 2.56/4 in the To Score or Assist market.
Influential striker Alfredo Morelos is still sidelined by injury, but Rangers haven't yet given up hope when it comes to forward Kemar Roofe's involvement.
Frankfurt are rightful favourites
Rangers deserve huge respect after what they did to Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, but I think their underdog status is warranted, simply because they aren't at Ibrox. Yes, they won in Dortmund, but they lost in Belgrade, Braga and Leipzig, and Die Roten Bullen had plenty of chances to score more goals in that semi-final first leg.
Frankfurt have saved their best performances for their games on the road, and I think man-for-man they are a slightly better side. You can back Frankfurt to win inside 90 minutes at 2.447/5, but I'm conscious that this could go the distance, so I'll just back Frankfurt to win the Europa League at 1.84/5, which means we still win if Frankfurt's ultimate victory requires extra time or penalties.
If you want to boost the price, there are a couple of ways you can do it by using the Bet Builder. The first is by backing Frankfurt to lift the trophy and Daichi Kamada to have a shot on target at combined odds of 2.77/4. Kamada tends to save his best displays for this tournament, and he has five goals in 12 UEL matches this term.
If you just want to back Kamada to score, you can do so at a tempting 4.57/2.
Alternatively, you can combine a Frankfurt UEL success with Filip Kostic to have a shot on target at 2.4529/20. Kostic is on penalties, and he scored twice in the 3-2 win at Barcelona, as well as finding the net on his last trip to Seville against Betis.
Eagles to make fast start
You could also back Frankfurt to win the trophy and Over 0.5 First Half Goals at 2.1511/10 on the Bet Builder. Frankfurt tend to start quickly in this competition - they scored in the first minute of the win and West Ham, grabbed an early penalty in the win at Barcelona, and there has been a first half goal in eight of their last 10 UEL games.