The draw for the Europa League Round of 16 has been made, and it’s thrown up some very interesting ties for the three German sides left in the competition. Bayer Leverkusen will face Rangers, Wolfsburg have been drawn against Shakhtar Donetsk and Eintracht Frankfurt will square off against Basel.
Wolfsburg’s draw is perhaps the toughest- Shakhtar have European pedigree, and have often proved tough nuts to crack. On paper, Leverkusen will be relatively satisfied with a draw against Rangers, who are the sole Scottish side left in the competition after Celtic’s exit at the hands of FC Copenhagen.
The games will take place on 12 and 19 March. Wolfsburg are at home for the first leg, while Leverkusen and Frankfurt will both be travelling for their respective first legs.
Germany’s solitary club in Europa League action tonight sealed their passage into the next round with a 2:1 win over their opponents. Eintracht Frankfurt, also last year’s EL semi-finalists, took the tie 4:2 on aggregate against their Estonian opponents.
The first leg in Estonia had produced a record attendance for a club game in that country and the Eintracht fans were in full voice for the second leg, with the 48.000 capacity Commerzbank Arena almost filled to the brim.
Both of Eintracht’s goals came from Goncalo Pacencia (37 and 54 pen), while Sinyavskiy netted in the 40th minute for Flora. Pacencia was therefore the pick of the players in the ratings, as seen below.
Eintracht will take on Liechtenstenian outfit Vaduz in the third round.
Germany’s last remaining representatives in continental competition were eliminated on Thursday night as Eintracht Frankfurt lost on penalties. The visitors, who had been thrashed 6:1 by Leverkusen over the weekend, gave it their all, and were leading 3:2 in the shootout before Martin Hinteregger shot his spot kick straight at Kepa, and the Spaniard’s save changed the complexion of the game. Hazard and David Luiz scored from their penalties, and Goncalo missed his as Frankfurt lost 4:3 in the shootout.
We now have an all-English Europa League final in Baku later this month between Arsenal and Chelsea.
Eintracht Frankfurt had their 15 game unbeaten streak snapped as they lost 4:2 to Portuguese giants SL Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal. Eintracht, the last remaining German team in European competition this season following Bayern, BVB and Schalke’s exits from the Round of 16 of the Champions League, had last lost back in December 2018 to Bayern, but were well beaten at the Stadium of Light, with young Joao Felix announcing himself on the world stage with a hat trick.
Felix had three goals and an assist (check out his second goal if you can- an absolute screamer). Luka Jovic had scored against his parent club to make it 1:1, but Benfica netted in the 43rd, 50th and 54th minutes of this clash to put the result of the game beyond doubt.
It’s not all gloom and doom for Frankfurt though- their two away goals have kept them in the contest. A 2:0 in the return leg will do very nice, and so would a 3:1.
Felix became the youngest player to score a Europa League hat trick. There were more than a dozen clubs who sent scouts to watch this game, including several big Premier League ones (United, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenl and Leicester), and his performance here would’ve caught the eye of many. He has a €120m release clause in his contract, but there’ll be plenty willing to stump up that fee if he continues to progress at this level.
Scotland’s last remaining representative in European competition went out rather tamely as Celtic slumped to a 3:0 loss against Zenit St.Petersburg in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie.
Brendan Rodgers’ men had won the first leg 1:0, and had progressed from the last ten European knockout ties where they had won the first leg. A disastrous recent away record in Europe (last clean sheet on the road was back in 2009 against Hamburg), and Zenit’s impressive home form (2 defeats in the last 15 years at home in European competition) were the factors against them.
The 3:0 defeat was Celtic’s heaviest away one in the Europa League (Or the UEFA Cup as it was called back then) since a 5:1 loss to Neuchatel Xamak in the Ro32 nearly three decades ago.
The manner of the defeat would’ve definitely hurt Celtic fans. None of Zenit’s goals were superb or spectacular, and if it had been prime Artur Boruc in goal instead of Dorus de Vries, the story might have been different. Continue reading Zenit 3-0 Celtic Europa League Second Leg February 2018- Hoops stumble out of Europe again