Eintracht Frankfurt vs FC Barcelona
Competition/Round: 2021-22 UEFA Europa League, Quarterfinals, Leg 1
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Sergiño Dest, Memphis Depay, Luuk De Jong, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti (out)
Frankfurt Outs & Doubts: Cristopher Lenz, Diant Ramaj (out)
Date/Time: Thursday, April 7, 2022, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Friday)
Venue: Deutsche Bank Park, Frankfurt, Germany
Referee: Srdjan Jovanović (SRB)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), Not Available (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), SONY Liv (India), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
How to watch online: Paramount+ (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following a hard-fought and crucial La Liga victory over Sevilla at the weekend, Barcelona return to action to begin their Europa League quarterfinal tie against Eintracht Frankfurt with the first leg taking place over in Germany.
Barça are unbeaten in their last 14 games in all competitions and climbed to second place in the league table last Sunday, and are huge favorites to win the Europa League considering their form and who’s left in the competition. Xavi Hernández and his troops are enjoying a fantastic run of results, and with nine games left in La Liga and a potential five to play in Europe we are in for a thrilling finish to what once felt like a lost season before the coaching change.
The Blaugrana feel unstoppable, but just one bad night can undo all the hard work and Thursday could be one of those. Just like with Galatasaray in the last round, the discourse around this tie with Frankfurt is that Barça will advance with ease, dominating both legs and moving on to the semi-finals without a scare.
It’s a good thing that Xavi and the players don’t have that attitude, but everyone else expecting Barça to make quick work of Eintracht doesn’t watch much German football. Yes, they are 9th in the table and haven’t lived up to the expectations created by an incredible campaign last season, but a lot of the excellent talent that made them a Champions League contender in 2020-21 remains.
Filip Kostic is the best of the bunch, and the Serbian winger remains a very consistent attacking threat that causes a lot of problems with his pace and skill on the left wing. Rafael Borré has settled well as the main striker, attacking midfielder Daichi Kamada has been their best player in the Europa League and Evan Ndicka is one of the most underrated defenders in the continent.
And even though they haven’t played well in the Bundesliga Frankfurt have had a great season in Europe, topping their Europa League group and eliminating a very good Real Betis team in dramatic fashion in the Round of 16. They are a good team that becomes even better at home with a truly game-changing atmosphere, especially in big matches.
It doesn’t get much bigger than Barcelona for a team like Frankfurt, so expect their fans to be at their loudest and most passionate. Also expect a tough, physical, well-organized, strong counter-attacking team, as every Oliver Glasner side tends to be.
This will not be easy, and a Barça win will be a big deal regardless of the score. Getting to decide the tie at Camp Nou is very important, because getting a result in Frankfurt is a hell of a task.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Araujo, Piqué, Eric, Alba; Gavi, F. De Jong, Pedri; Adama, Aubameyang, Ferran
Frankfurt (3-4-3): Trapp; Tuta, Hinteregger, Ndicka; Knauff, Jakic, Sow, Kostic; Lindstrom, Borré, Kamada
Frankfurt have really interesting players and also have one of the best fanbases in all of German football. The atmosphere will be electric, they will be dangerous on the counter and this will not be easy at all: 2-1 Barça.