ABOUTAlthough Eintracht lost the first leg to PAOK in Thessaloniki 1-2 in early October, from Frankfurt’s point of view it was a turning point for the better. Those involved said with great confidence that they were not rewarded for a convincing performance that made them forget a dismal showing at the start of the season after shooting 18-4 on goal.
And the turmoil after the final whistle, for which Frankfurt felt no responsibility and which resulted in goalkeeper Kevin Trapp’s controversial red card for Eintracht, would have brought everyone closer together, coach Dino Toppmeller said ahead of the return leg.
A meeting that ended in serious failure and another blow to the neck for Eintracht on Thursday evening at the Waldstadion.
The score 1:2 – Omar Marmus scored for Eintracht (58th minute), Tomas Kedziora (55th) and Adria Zivkoviv (73rd) scored for PAOK – meant that Frankfurt could no longer win the group. That is why Eintracht Frankfurt, four points behind table leaders Greece, missed out on a direct path to the last 16 of the European Conference League in March.
Instead, the Frankfurt side, for whom Kristijan Jakic was shown a stoppage-time red card, will have to make an unpopular round of 16 play-off stage against a team relegated from the Europa League in February. The last group game on December 14 in Aberdeen is meaningless for Frankfurt. It is no longer possible to dislodge her from second place. Given the tight schedule, the 1/8 finals are not a victory for Eintracht Frankfurt.
The atmosphere in the stadium, filled with 58,000 spectators, was atmospheric. Eintracht Ultras, who came up with their own choreography and the use of pyrotechnics before the game, loudly supported the team as always, there was no boycott of sentiment with a silent curve of fans, as in the home game against Stuttgart.
Last Saturday evening, before the Bundesliga match and during the first half, in front of Block 40 there were serious riots between so-called football fans and the police, with many injured on all sides.
This time everything went peacefully inside the stadium. However, almost half an hour later, Eintracht fans stopped supporting them shortly before half-time due to a medical emergency in the fans’ area. Among the stadium’s visitors were more than 4,000 Greek fans who arrived from Thessaloniki on 30 buses.
“It goes without saying that we have more energy when the audience supports us. It’s the same for every team in the world,” Coach Toppmeller said before the game. Eintracht, with Mario Götze in the starting line-up, had their first good chance to score in the eleventh minute after a slow start.
PAOK goalkeeper Dominik Kotarski was able to parry Fares Chaibi’s shot for a corner. Nils Nkunku then broke through from the left in an unorthodox manner, but his cross was found in the hands of Kotarski. Eintracht were unable to take advantage of PAOK’s deficiencies in defense, which periodically revealed inaccuracies in the construction of the game.
Marmoush also failed to score against the Greeks from a promising position in the 32nd minute. Kotarski was there again. His Eintracht colleague Trapp impressed with a save (29th) against Thomas Murga.
The fight had its interesting moments, but until then the game was not spectacular. Götze had the opportunity for the first shot in the second period, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Ellis Skhiri was unable to continue in the 54th minute due to injury, and the holding midfielder was replaced by Christian Jakic.
This was not the only scary moment from Eintracht’s point of view. Soon after, Kedzior’s warning gave the Greeks a 1-0 lead. He benefited from the fact that juniors Dina Ebimbe and Tuta interfered with each other during defense.
Eintracht’s response was not long in coming: three minutes later, Marmus finished off Chaibi’s cross with a powerful header and made the score 1:1. The game in Frankfurt has now gained momentum. Junior Dina Ebimbe’s shot narrowly missed the PAOK goal (63 minutes). However, the goal came from the other side. After Trapp, lacking his usual confidence in this situation, only missed Brandon’s shot forward, Zivkovic made it 2-1. Marmoush missed a great opportunity to equalize (85th place).
After a home defeat to VfB, the Frankfurt team wanted to start a new series. But they couldn’t start. Instead, they suffered their second competitive loss in a row. From their point of view, now the situation can only improve.
Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine
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