A place in the Europa League semi-finals is up for grabs when Barcelona and Eintracht Frankfurt face off at the Camp Nou on Thursday evening.
Last week’s opening leg fixture between Barcelona and Frankfurt, the first between the sides, saw them play out a 1-1 draw at Deutsche Bank Park. Ansgar Knauff scored the only goal for the hosts in the 48th minute. Ferran Torres scored the only goal for the La Liga club in the 66th minute.
One would typically expect one of Barcelona’s famed attacking names to come up with the finish that Ansgar Knauff did in the first leg last week, but it was the Frankfurt man who stunned the Blaugrana with a peach of a half-volley from outside the area with 48 minutes gone.
The 10 men of Frankfurt could and should have chalked up more than just the one goal on the night, and that lack of ruthlessness allowed Barcelona a route back into the game, which they took through Ferran Torres after a lovely team move involving substitutes Frenkie De Jong and Ousmane Dembele.
Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 15 fixtures ahead of their pivotal meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League. Following a 3-2 La Liga win over Levante, Barcelona will look to book their place in the Europa League semis when they host Eintracht Frankfurt at their Camp Nou on Thursday evening. Barca have been impressive in 2022, and it is no wonder the odds for a home win have been dropping.
La Blaugrana are also welcoming Frankfurt to a ground where they have kept four clean sheets on the spin since that 1-1 draw with Napoli in the last-32 stage back in February, and now would be as good a time as ever to claim their first Europa League win on home soil since 2004.
Preview: Frankfurt Eintracht
Frankfurt fell to a home defeat versus Freiburg ahead of their trip to Spain, dropping them further off the pace domestically and emphasizing their need to win this tie, setting up a semi-final showdown against West Ham or Lyon.
Going 1-0 down and losing midfield enforcer Djibril Sow to injury represented a dismal first half for Frankfurt against Freiburg, and while they did respond to Vincenzo Grifo’s opener through Filip Kostic, Nils Petersen completed the job for Freiburg in the 69th minute.
It is now five games without a win domestically and continentally for Die Adler, who are facing an uphill struggle to match their semi-final finish in the 2018-19 Europa League.
How the match could go
Despite their dissatisfactory winless run, Frankfurt caused the Barcelona defense all sorts of problems in the first leg and should have no problem doing so again with several Xavi’s defensive regulars absent for one reason or the other.
Keeping the ball away from their own goal at Camp Nou will be the ultimate test for Frankfurt, and given Barcelona’s recent spate of dominance at home and well-stocked attacking options, the Catalans should book their place in the final four with minimal fuss.
Barcelona to win
Eintracht Frankfurt considered last week’s 1-1 first-leg draw with Barcelona as a missed opportunity following a positive performance, though the Catalonian giants are unlikely to let the Germans off the hook in the return fixture on Thursday.
Xavi’s Barca have not lost once in their last 15 matches and we’re tipping them to overpower Die Adler at Camp Nou. The hosts should cruise to the next round given their home form and how well they manage to defeat teams in recent times. Bet9ja have 1.40, 1xbet have 1.40 and Paripesa have 1.40 odds.
Over 2.5 Goals
With a frontline packed with superstars and a string of backup options with stellar qualities of their own, Barcelona have looked full of creativity and penetration of late and over 2.5 goals have landed in 70% of their last ten fixtures as a result. Another glut of action looks possible this week against an adventurous Frankfurt outfit. Bet9ja have 1.55 odds, Paripesa have 1.54, and 1xbet have 1.54 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Barcelona)
Flying winger Ferran Torres bagged Barcelona’s equalizer on the hour mark in last week’s first leg against Frankfurt in Germany and the Spanish international can punish the same defense in the return fixture. The 22-year-old has already scored seven times in 17 appearances for Los Cules this term and the ex-Man City starlet can add to his haul on Thursday. Bet9ja have 2.40 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.25.
January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who looks unstoppable at the moment, will be the man to watch in the away team. Having scored 10 goals in 14 games for his side this season there is no reason not to include him here. Aubameyang is among the prime candidates to register anytime again against Frankfurt. Bet9ja have 1.80 odds and Paripesa have 1.86 odds for him to score.
Anytime Goalscorer (Frankfurt)
Frankfurt’s Daichi Kamada has scored four UEL goals this campaign with each match witnessing goals at both ends before half-time. He could make a difference for his side if they really want to get something out of this game. He was absent amongst the goals in the first leg but had a great game which meant he was just unlucky to score. Bet9ja have 6.00 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 6.25.
Filip Kostić also scored when Frankfurt was 1-0 behind over the weekend, but his last UEL away goal gave them a 1-0 lead. Frankfurt would surely be looking to cause an upset here today and there is no player more suitable for this task on the Frankfurt team. Bet9ja have 6.00 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 6.00.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.