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Eintracht Frankfurt: the greatest race of all time

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Von: Ingo Durstewitz

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Eintracht board member Axel Hellmann is proud of Eintracht triumph before the Europa League final and expects his own fans to outnumber Rangers.

Frankfurt – The question of the shirt, or the color of the shirt, has never been a problem for Axel Hellmann. Of course, Eintracht Frankfurt will play the highly anticipated final against Glasgow Rangers in Seville on Wednesday (18 May) all in white. Traditional. As in all great games. “We rocked Europe in white,” says the CEO. Also: “In Spain we are called Bestia Blanca.” The white beast, of Bavarian origin, which was once feared there as the “Black Beast”, the black beast. What Munich did quite often with Real Madrid back then, Hesse only recently did with FC Barcelona, ​​not only did they beat him, they humiliated him. “We have now won this title in Europe,” says Hellmann. There is pride in his voice.

In Frankfurt preparations are underway for the most important match of almost half a century, the entire club is in a state of emergency. “This is a unique final”, emphasizes the Eintracht board. “This is a unique encounter.”

Eintracht Frankfurt: the final is also attractive because of the opponent

It is also the constellation that makes this final, the opponent, this lively Glasgow club so special. “It was a dream in our club to play Rangers,” says the Scottish fan. “Glasgow is a myth to us.” This is mainly due to the two lavish European nights of 1960, when Eintracht defeated Rangers twice in epic duels, 6-1 and 6-3. The match of the century followed in the final against Real Madrid (3: 7).

Full of anticipation for the finale: CEO Axel Hellmann.
Full of anticipation for the finale: CEO Axel Hellmann. © Ulrich Hufnagel / Imago Images

But it is also the parallels between the clubs that create this special charm, the attitude towards football, the desire to play a role in Europe and not just be a marginal figure. Both clubs are based on a powerful fan scene, which Hellmann describes as “Europe’s biggest and most vocal”. Both fan groups share unconditional dedication, love for their club and a desire to travel.

Eintracht Frankfurt: Sevilla expect more Scots

For the first time, Hellmann says, Eintracht fans will be outnumbered in the city, expecting 40,000 to 50,000 people from Frankfurt. The Scots take it one step further: the lawyer, “cautiously estimated”, assumes 70,000, 80,000 Glasgow fans. “There will be a rush this city has never experienced before.” Scots are creative when it comes to travel arrangements. “They hijacked all the ferries from North Africa,” he laughs, recalling the 2008 final when Rangers lost 2-0 to Zenit St. Petersburg. “There were 200,000 Scots in Manchester at the time, sleeping under bridges and on park benches.”

Hellmann finds his opponent’s march in Seville very nice: “They look really good, something like that impresses me.” The 50-year-old doesn’t expect fights, just for the story. “They both feel friendly” and Rangers fans are not known as rioters. “We don’t expect accidents.”

Eintracht Frankfurt: Enthusiasm knows no bounds

Also because there should be opportunities to attend the match outdoors, that is, for those who have not received any of the 10,000 club tickets. “UEFA is working on a public vision, I also think it will work, it’s the smart way.” The Eintracht will organize a fan festival in the large 50,000-seat Plaza San Sebastian, where, among other things, the cult band Tankard performs and sings the anthem “Black and White Like Snow”.

The enthusiasm in Frankfurt is constantly reaching its peak. Eintracht could have sold 100,000 tickets for public viewing at the Waldstadion, but in the end it will be 50,000 people, more is not possible. Hellmann can hardly believe it. “There is no match at the stadium, there is a screen there,” he says with a smile. An additional screen is now being installed on the stadium forecourt, 5,000 or 6,000 people should still get their money there. The hype surrounding Eintracht is indescribable and cannot be put into words. “I’ve been there for a long time, but I’ve never experienced it in this form.”

Eintracht Frankfurt: When you win the title, reception on the Römer

If the title worked, Eintracht would be celebrating at the Römer in prime time the next day. Planning is underway, weddings have been postponed, 30 to 40 convertibles are ready to drive heroes around town. The city would then be on the verge of collapse in terms of traffic with additional commuter traffic anyway. But also emotionally. Hellmann expects many more people than in 2018 after the cup triumph. At that time, 200,000 people lined the streets.

The rest of the Eintracht attach importance to the fact that Glasgow opponents are also planning a reception in the city. The request of the Romans, therefore, has nothing to do with the feeling of certain victory or with a surge of arrogance. Logistically, this is clear, everything has to be organized. Incidentally, in the event of a defeat, the Eintracht will forgo the reception in the town hall. “You go there to celebrate titles or promotions. Otherwise there are only long faces and tortured speeches, “says Hellmann, making it clear that a final defeat would be extremely painful, but the Europa League season is still great.” Silver is stupid, but we made it to the final in twelve unbeaten matches. . It would be an exceptional lap and an exceptional performance ”.

The officer is proud of Eintracht’s triumphal march through Europe, that the club is an excellent representative of the Bundesliga and Germany, that the whole republic crosses their fingers, yes, that somehow everyone would like to be like Eintracht Frankfurt. “We are now perceived as the first in Europe, in all competitions”. As Eintracht has managed to push the boundaries, “we have shown that you can do great things even from our position”. Hellmann, who estimates the turnover of international matches between 22 and 25 million, believes that Eintracht’s performance will find many imitators. “It will affect the league, we did light up the eyes in the Bundesliga in the Europa League.” (Ingo Durstewitz)

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