EL quarter finals: “A big club” – Frankfurt meets Benfica Lisbon
The European tour of the Frankfurt Eintracht continues in Portugal! On Friday, the SGE, who went on with a 1-0 draw at Inter Milan on Thursday, was assigned to Lisbon in the draw for the quarter-finals of the Europa League, Benfica. The other three duels are also very tough: Besides a great match, there will be a Spanish duel and a comparison between Slavia Prague and Chelsea.
After Olympique Marseille, Lazio Rome, Apollon Limassol, Schachtar Donezk and Inter Milan, the European adventure trip for the reigning DFB Cup winner Eintracht Frankfurt, who for the first time since 1995 is again in the round of the last eight of an international competition, continues against Benfica Lisbon. This was the result of the draw for the Europa League quarter-finals on Friday in Nyon, Switzerland. In the first leg on 11 April, Eintracht will play in Lisbon in the impressive Estadio da Luz, while the return leg on 18 April will take place in the Commerzbank Arena in Hesse.
Benfica are record champions in Portugal (36 titles), five-time winners of the European Cup of Champions (1963, 1965, 1968, 1988, 1990) and three-time champions of the UEFA Cup/Europa League (1983, 2013, 2014).
“Lisbon is a strong team, a big club and a great city. We are happy about this great draw. In many ways it’s a great thing,” said Frankfurt board member Axel Hellmann.
It’s also a special game for Eintracht striker Luka Jovic. The 21-year-old Serb, who has completely taken off in Hesse this season (15 Bundesliga goals, seven assists, seven goals in the Europa League), once moved to Benfica Lisbon after his training station Red Star Belgrade – and finally came to the Main metropolis in 2017 on a loan basis including purchase option.
Also interesting: The current league leader of the league NOS (equal on points with the pursuers FC Porto, each 60) plays with striker Haris Seferovic (15 goals in 21 league games, one goal in the EL) a former SGE professional. Between 2014 and 2017, the 27-year-old Swiss player scored 86 Bundesliga matches for Eintracht, scored 16 goals and 14 assists, and was able to maintain his class with the club in the 2015/16 relegation against Nuremberg.
Goal machines among themselves: Arsenal vs. Napoli
The other three quarter-final matches will be dominated by a big bang that promises a lot of goals: The English top club Arsenal, with its stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Özil & Co., will meet the Italian runner-up Napoli around Lorenzo Insigne, José Callejon or Arkadiusz Milik.
In addition, Villarreal FC will face La Liga rivals Valencia (the two clubs are only 60 kilometres apart) in a purely Spanish duel, while Slavia Prague will face Chelsea FC.
The road to the final is also clear
In the event of a semi-final entry, Eintracht would otherwise face the winner of the Chelsea/Prague match. The winner from Arsenal/Naples will face Villarreal or Valencia. This also means that a final between the Blues and the Neapolitans would be possible – a meeting between CFC coach Maurizio Sarri and his ex-club from southern Italy (“I’d rather play Napoli in the final, I’m connected to this club and this city”).
“Of course you can dream about the final,” said Fredi Bobic, the sports director, on Thursday evening after his away win in Milan. In a European final, the Hessians only played twice in their 120-year club history: In 1960, they lost 3-7 to Real Madrid, the forerunner of the Champions League, in the cup of the national champions. In 1980, Frankfurt won the UEFA Cup after a 2-3 and 1-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The semi-finals of the Europa League are scheduled for 2 May and the return legs for 9 May. The final will take place on 29 May in the national stadium of Baku/Azerbaijan.