For the first time since 1997, a Bundesliga team is the champion of the Europa League. Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Rangers FC on penalties, after 120 minutes of a grueling slugfest through the blistering heat of a Sevilla summer night.
Although Frankfurt’s night almost turned catastrophic when center back Tuta slipped while trying to chase down a through ball, allowing Rangers to take a lead, Frankfurt would equalizer minutes later thanks to a goal by Rafael Borré.
As the match wore on it became glaringly obvious that both sides were exhausted, and it took until penalties for the match to be decided. The Eagles converted all of their penalties, while goalkeeper managed to save a penalty from Juventus loanee Aaron Ramsey to secure the trophy.
For the Bundesliga, a league that has garnered a reputation for being uncompetitive in Europe and for being dominated by Bayern Munich, having another club win a major trophy like the Europa League is a significant lift.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund’s Ansgar Knauff could not have asked for more out of his loan spell with Eintracht Frankfurt. He played all 120 minutes of today’s match, as he did throughout Frankfurt’s run to the final, and now has a major European trophy to his name at the ripe age of 20. Knauff will spend next season with Frankfurt as well, before he is scheduled to return to Dortmund. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if the young winger tries to make his move permanent, because he seems to be enjoying life with the Eagles right now.