Barcelona’s quest to win the one major European trophy missing from their collection remains on track as they host Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final with the scores level at 1-1, although the German side remain unbeaten in this season’s competition and have never lost in Spain.
• After 17 successful years competing in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League, Barcelona failed to progress from their group this season, picking up just seven points to finish third behind Bayern München and Benfica and cross over to the UEFA Europa League, where they made it to the last eight after beating both Napoli and Galatasaray away following first-leg draws at the Camp Nou.
• Frankfurt came unbeaten through UEFA Europa League D during the autumn, topping the section with 12 points ahead of Olympiacos, Fenerbahçe and Antwerp to qualify directly for the round of 16, where they eliminated Real Betis thanks to an own goal in the last minute of extra time (2-1 a, 1-1 h).
Barcelona vs Frankfurt: the latest from the match
• The clubs’ first meeting in UEFA competition produced a fiercely contested 1-1 draw in the Frankfurt Stadion, the home side going ahead with a spectacular long-range strike from Ansgar Knauff – his first European goal – before Ferran Torres finished off an intricate passing move to bring the visitors level. Eintracht ended the game with ten men following the 78th-minute dismissal of Brazilian defender Tuta.
• That ended Barcelona’s three-game losing run against German opposition – all against Bayern – in which they had conceded 14 goals and scored just two. Barcelona have won 20 of their 29 home games against German clubs, including all of the last 17 against teams other than Bayern. The last Bundesliga side apart from the Munich club to avoid defeat against them at the Camp Nou were Bayer Leverkusen, who beat them 1-0 there in the second leg of the 1987/88 UEFA Cup quarter-final (agg 1-0) en route to lifting the trophy.
• Barça have met German opposition in 21 previous knockout ties, including finals, winning 15 of them. In European quarter-finals against German teams their record is W3 L2, though they infamously lost the most recent 8-2 to Bayern in their single-leg UEFA Champions League tie in Lisbon two seasons ago – the Catalan club’s heaviest European defeat.
Frankfurt’s first encounter with Spanish opposition was their historic 7-3 defeat by Real Madrid in the 1960 European Cup final in Glasgow. However, they remain unbeaten against Spanish opposition in the eight encounters since (W5 D3) and have won three of their four games in Spain, beating Betis in Seville last month in the round of 16. Eintracht’s two-legged knockout record against Spanish clubs is now W3 L0.
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• Barcelona were third in the 2020/21 Spanish Liga, the first time they had finished outside the top two since 2007/08, when they also came third. They did, however, claim a record-extending 31st victory in the Copa del Rey, beating Athletic Club 4-0 in the final.
• Last season Barcelona also failed to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2006/07, losing to Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 (1-4 h, 1-1 a). This term they scored just two goals – both in 1-0 wins against Dynamo Kyiv – in finishing third behind Bayern (0-3 h, 0-3 a) and Benfica (0-3 a, 0-0 h) in Group E Head coach Ronald Koeman was dismissed in October and replaced the following month by former midfielder Xavi Hernández.
While this is Barça’s first season in the UEFA Europa League, their last appearance in the UEFA Cup was in 2003/04, when they reached the fourth round before being knocked out by Celtic (0-1 a, 0-0 h). Barcelona never won the UEFA Cup, nor reached a final, suffering semi-final elimination on four occasions – in 1975/76, 1977/78, 1995/96 and 2000/01. Their quarter-final record in the competition was W4 L3. In 38 UEFA quarter-finals overall they have been successful 25 times, though they have won just one of their last five in the UEFA Champions League.
• Barcelona have failed to score in four of their last seven European home games, winning just one of them and losing three – all by three-goal margins. They are unbeaten, however, in their last ten UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches at the Camp Nou (W5 D5), keeping six clean sheets. The last visiting team to win there in the UEFA Cup were from Germany, Bayern prevailing 2-1 in the second leg of the 1995/96 semi-final to complete a 4-3 aggregate success.
• Barcelona have recorded 27 away first-leg draws in UEFA competition, winning 22 of those ties on aggregate, most recently against Napoli in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (1-1 a, 3-1 h). That was the 13th tie in which they drew 1-1 in the away first leg and their 11th aggregate victory; their last such aggregate defeat was after extra time against Juventus in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League quarter-final (1-2 h).
• Having been absent from Europe in 2020/21, Eintracht returned for a third UEFA Europa League group stage campaign in four seasons – and fourth in all – thanks to their fifth-placed finish in the Bundesliga. Last summer they replaced coach Adi Hütter with another Austrian, Oliver Glasner, who was in charge of fourth-placed Wolfsburg last term.
• Eintracht have now qualified for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase on all of their four group stage appearances, notably reaching the semi-finals in 2018/19, when they were denied a place in the final only by a penalty shoot-out defeat against eventual winners Chelsea. They won all six of their group games that season – the only German club ever to achieve the feat – but managed just three this term, two against Olympiacos (3-1 h, 2-1 a) and one against Antwerp (1-0 a), in addition to three draws – 2-2 at home to Antwerp and 1-1 in both games against Fenerbahçe.
• The 1979/80 UEFA Cup winners are participating in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the second time. They edged past Benfica at this stage in 2018/19, winning the tie on away goals when they followed up a 2-4 defeat in Lisbon with a 2-0 victory at home. That made Eintracht’s all-time record in UEFA quarter-finals W4 L5, ending a run of four straight aggregate defeats.
• The victory against Betis in Seville was one of only two in Eintracht’s last eight away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, but they have drawn four of them. With three wins and a draw on their European travels this season, the German club’s all-time away record in the proper competition is now W11 D5 L4.
• Frankfurt have been held to home first-leg draws five times previously in UEFA competition, winning just one of those ties, against Inter in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League round of 16 (0-0 h, 1-0 a). Their most recent such defeat came later in that competition when they drew both semi-final matches 1-1 against Chelsea before going down 4-3 on penalties at Stamford Bridge. The only other time they drew the first leg 1-1 at home was in the 1994/95 quarter-final against Juventus, who defeated them 3-0 in the Turin return.
Links and trivia
• Opposing goalkeepers Marc-André ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp have both been capped at international level by Germany, most recently in last month’s friendly against Israel, when the latter replaced the former at half-time. Ter Stegen joined Barcelona in 2014 after four seasons in the Bundesliga with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
• Dutchmen Luuk de Jong (Barcelona) and Sam Lammers (Eintracht) are former PSV Eindhoven team-mates (2016–19). De Jong was a Mönchengladbach player in 2012/13, two of his six Bundesliga goals coming in wins against Eintracht – 2-0 at home and 1-0 away.
• Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winner for Barcelona at Galatasaray in the round of 16 was his 24th goal in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, putting him joint third in the competition’s all-time goalscorers list, level with Munas Dabbur and below only Radamel Falcao (30) and Aritz Aduriz (26).
• Aubameyang was a Borussia Dortmund player from July 2013 to January 2018, scoring 141 goals in 213 matches. He registered six goals and two assists against Frankfurt in nine Bundesliga games and also scored the winning penalty against them in the 2016/17 German Cup final (2-1).
• Aubameyang also scored against Frankfurt for Arsenal in both UEFA Europa League group games in 2019/20 (3-0 a, 1-2 h), Daichi Kamada finding the net twice for the German side in the second encounter.
Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembélé played alongside Aubameyang – and Frankfurt’s Sebastian Rode – at Dortmund in 2016/17, scoring six goals in 32 Bundesliga matches.
• Eintracht’s Colombian forward Rafael Borré spent 2016/17 on loan at Villarreal from fellow Spanish Liga club Atlético de Madrid, for whom he never made a first-team appearance.
• Martin Braithwaite (Barcelona) and Jesper Lindstrøm (Eintracht) are both Danish internationals.
• Frankfurt are the only club taking part in this season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-finals to have previously lifted the trophy, in their case in its former guise as the UEFA Cup (1980), whereas Barcelona are the only former European Cup / UEFA Champions League winners involved in the last eight.
• Competition debutants Barcelona became the 224th team to take part in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, and the 13th from Spain, when they entered the knockout round play-offs.
• Barcelona are one of two reigning domestic cup holders in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals – along with Braga.
• Germany are the only country with more than one club in the quarter-finals – Eintracht and Leipzig. It is the first time since 2011/12 that two Bundesliga sides have made it through to this stage of the competition. No German side has ever won the UEFA Europa League.
• Barcelona claimed a dramatic 3-2 Liga win at Levante on Sunday, substitute Luuk de Jong scoring an added-time winner after the Catalan side had conceded three penalties – two of them converted. That was Barça’s seventh league victory in a row and 15th successive game unbeaten in the competition, whereas Eintracht lost for the first time in five Bundesliga outings when they went down 1-2 at home to Freiburg.
• The winners of this tie will face either West Ham or Lyon in the semi-final.
• Barcelona’s record in six UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W5 L1:
5-4 v AZ Alkmaar, 1977/78 UEFA Cup second round
3-1 v Ipswich Town, 1977/78 UEFA Cup third round
4-1 v Anderlecht, 1978/79 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round
5-4 at IFK Gothenburg, 1985/86 European Champion Clubs’ Cup semi-final
0-2 in Steaua Bucharest, 1985/86 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final
5-4 in Lech Poznań, 1988/89 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round
• Eintracht’s record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W0 L2:
4-5 v Salzburg, 1993/94 UEFA Cup quarter-final
3-4 v Chelsea, 2018/19 UEFA Europa League semi-final
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