Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner praised the playing style of their Europa League final opponents Rangers, likening them to the German side’s previous conquests Barcelona and West Ham United.
Eintracht dispatched Spanish giants Barcelona in the quarterfinal, before beating London club West Ham in the semis and Glasner feels those encounters give his side a reference point for Wednesday’s final in Seville.
“I see a mix of West Ham United and Barcelona. The Dutch influence of their coach [Giovanni van Bronckhorst] in their build-up play, but with the British mentality. We need a top performance to beat them,” Glasner told a news conference at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on Tuesday.
“Rangers are a team that will constantly and robustly engage you in one-on-one battles and are willing to make the runs at the back. James Tavernier is the top goalscorer in the Europa League and he is a fullback, which shows how high their fullbacks play and their contributions up-front.”
Speaking at Rangers’ news conference, Van Bronckhorst confirmed that Kemar Roofe had recovered from a knee injury that had sidelined the Jamaican midfielder for several weeks and he was fit for the final.
Roofe’s return will provide a huge boost to Rangers, beaten in the 2008 Europa League final by Zenit St Petersburg, as they chase their first European silverware in 50 years following their success in the now-defunct Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.
Eintracht Frankfurt are bidding to end their 42-year barren run in Europe, having won the Europa League when it was called the UEFA Cup in 1980.
“I won five prizes in four years at Feyenoord but this is different,” Van Bronckhorst said.
“It’s a club I played at for three years in the 90s and I’m proud to take the boys into the final. It’s a huge opportunity to get a second major prize in Europe.
“We’ve had an amazing run and it will be an amazing final. But the final is only nice when you win. So that’s what we’ll try and do.”
Glasner, who said that his team were calm ahead of Wednesday’s game, feels their concentration levels will be key in the final.
“The emotions have only grown in the last few months, I’m so proud of the players and what they’ve produced and achieved. They deserve to be in the final,” Glasner said.
“The vibe in the locker room is great, a good mix of concentration, focus and ease and that is perfect ahead of a huge game like this.
“I was trying to think about what to say to my players tomorrow but I think I don’t even need to make a motivational speech because we know each other so well and know what we have to do to succeed.”
Van Bronckhorst, a former Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona player, praised the Scottish club’s fan base for the way they helped the team beat more fancied sides such as Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig to reach the final. As many as 100,000 Rangers fans are expected in Seville for the final.
“Our fans will be a factor. We knew before if we could get a good result to take back to Ibrox, it meant we could get a result against any team. It’s different here but you will hear our fans tomorrow,” he said.
But with Spanish authorities also expecting the arrival of 50,000 Eintracht supporters, Glasner paid tribute to the German club’s travelling fans for the way they got behind the team as they picked up away wins against Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham en route to the final.
And he believes they will be a factor again on Wednesday.
“Our fans are exceptional. They have gone to great lengths to follow us around Europe,” Glasner said.
“It’s the atmosphere they create. The enthusiasm and passion they bring is one thing, but there are intangible factors that give you goosebumps.
“We’ve got two teams with incredible fans and maybe the best away fans in Europe. Around 150,000 fans from both clubs are expected and that is just amazing.”