Eintracht won the European Cup for the first time in 42 years
The first part of the match, which was quite impressive in size, left a mixed impression. Both teams were clearly wary of each other, wary of the very fact of their presence in the final and the realization of it. This could be felt in every movement and action, in the way one player or another engaged in the fight, opened up or made a sharper pass. All of this replayed many times in my head and made it harder than usual.
Of course, this burden of responsibility couldn’t help but have an impact on the game. But, at the same time, the first part of the game was not a simple ball rolling with fearful throws and standards from a respectful distance. Still, Eintracht could not work in their unfamiliar dynamics. Therefore, the Germans kept working on opening up the game and breaking into the free areas, while the Scots acted more restrained.
This led to the feeling of a certain advantage on the side of Eintracht, whose captain Sebastian Rohde continued to play with a cleavage after a spike to the head in the opening stages. Indeed, the ball was much more often at the Rangers’ goal. By the 50th minute, the Germans had 13 shots on goal, while the Scots had only three. However, only three of Eintracht’s attempts were accurate, while the Rangers had just one. Van Bronckhorst’s team had a tough opening game if only to acknowledge the fact that by the 25th minute, Eintracht had failed to answer all of Rangers’ eight shots. On the other hand, after 25 minutes, the Germans did not hit the opposite side of the net till their own goal in the 69th minute.
Indeed, in the second part of the first half the Scots levelled the game, though they got closer to the goal less frequently. They controlled the ball more – under 55 percent of the time. Tried to play more measured. But in both cases we could say that the teams were capable of much more intense and colorful soccer. The status of the finals and its unexpected participants forced them to play that way. After all, roughly no one predicted such a pairing in the decisive match. And the trophy won would have been historic for either side. How can we abstract from that?
The goalless tension could only have been blown up by time or by some glaring mistakes. The second proved to be closer to the teams. Still, it wasn’t only the attacking players who were nervous, as they couldn’t complete the play due to shaky feet and mental confusion. Eintracht, who played more confidently, decided to be number one here as well and made a huge mistake.
It all started with a throw-in and an awkward cross by Sow in their half. He sent the ball towards his own goal to Aribo. That had a chance to stop Touta, but he was somehow slow to turn and lost to his opponent a meter and a half in front of the penalty box. He found nothing better to do than to make some clumsy jump with a fall. Either he wanted to tackle Aribo, but at the last moment he thought he would get a red card, or the Scottish Hottabych sitting on the stand bewitched him, but the fact remains that Touta collapsed, the way to the penalty box for Aribo was open, he did not wait for his teammate Touta to rush to the rescue, and Trapp cut the angle of attack. He took a low shot past the goalkeeper.
We might have expected some sort of surge, a bright splash in the game, a rush from a furious Eintracht, whose fans would not have forgiven their cowardice. In fact, expectations were only partially met. Yes, the Germans stepped up. But it was not an assault of desperation. For once, Eintracht’s execution didn’t let them down. And the Rangers defense wasn’t without its mistakes.
Kostich, the master of innings, broke Tavernier on the left flank and shot into the net and there Borre was seemingly covered by Goldson and Bassey. But it was a case of each relying on the other. In the end, Borre’s leg was cleverly set up and the ball ended up in the net. And the Rangers’ two central defenders were left looking at each other, arms apart.
Scared of the activity
We didn’t see the real teams in action. In the first half, caution and apprehension for the result, along with a high level of responsibility, defined the game. In the short second half the scoring chances were defined by individual mistakes. It seemed that after them one could expect different soccer. But again it returned to the format of the first half.
And here it was not only the responsibility that was imposed. It acquired a slightly different hue – now with every minute the final whistle was approaching, and the cost of a mistake rose by the second. With their goals the teams reminded themselves that they were not without fault. It scared them all the more. And, of course, the heat in Sevilla. Coupled with the tension, it left the teams tired and frustrated.
That’s why the third impressive part of the match was a slow struggle. Yes, once again Eintracht was more dynamic and the Rangers more thorough. But the former were too hurried in their unprepared shots against defenders from afar, while the latter sometimes broke away on the counterattack. Though very seldom. Everyone was in a hurry and shot in vain from fear and excitement which hindered their ability to play effectively.
Against this backdrop, coaches on both sides tried to somehow readjust their plays and schemes, but the overall picture remained unchanged. The Rangers’ move with Rufe’s joker in the 116th minute was curious. It seemed to blow up the game – there was the most dangerous moment of the match, for example, after his jerk. And in general, the Scots put a big pressure on the opponent in the last few minutes. It would have been nice to put up with it for 116 minutes and blow up the game with just one substitution at the very end. But still, the game turned into a penalty shootout.
Still, the penalty shootout, as the denouement for such an evenly matched pair, seemed logical enough. Even though it was reduced to individual kicks, which many soccer fans devalue as a defining argument in any dispute. Especially when a whole trophy is at stake. It is interesting that before the series, the goalkeepers even had similar statistics in their careers on penalties. Both had 18 penalties, Trapp missed 43 of them in his career and McGregor had 40. The fate of this series was decided by Trapp’s leg, or rather, not the best shot by Ramsey, who was the only one who didn’t take his shot. It seems the jokes and memes about Aaron are going to increase. All the way down the road for that one shot to happen. Either way, though, there would have been drama waiting for us at the end, one or the other.
Visually Eintracht were more active and dangerous in this match. But the statistics said in favor of an absolutely equal match. “Eintracht had 57 attacks against 54 for the Rangers – not much difference. The Germans had 22 shots on goal vs. 14 for the Scots, but the latter were more accurate – 6:4 on shots on goal. And they had the most dangerous moments in the game. The Rangers controlled the ball better too – 54% of the time, making 413 passes vs. 374 for Eintracht. The Germans ran a little more in two hours, 152 kilometers vs. 147.5 kilometers for the Rangers. The main thing is that Eintracht made it to their first trophy in 42 years.