Hoping to overturn a 2-1 lead in the first leg, Real Betis travel to Deutsche Bank Park to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16 on Thursday night. Two teams entered this game after winning their respective leagues last weekend, with Frankfurt returning to win 2-1 at home over VfL Bochum, while Betis secured a difficult 1-0 home win against Athletic Bilbao.
After four defeats in five matches, Eintracht Frankfurt have since turned things around with three straight wins in all competitions, including winning last week’s first leg against Real Betis in Spain. This result allowed the Eagles to expand their unbeaten streak in this season’s competition to seven. They have also been undefeated in their last seven meetings against Spanish opponents, the last defeat being in the 1993-94 UEFA Cup Round of 16 against Deportivo La Coruna.
Although Frankfurt have regained their level in the German league, they are still seven points behind the European centers. Glasner’s men will now focus on Thursday’s second leg as they attempt to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2018-2019, when they reached the quarter-finals. The Germans have qualified each of their last nine European competition knockout matches by winning the first leg, so they will be confident of at least one draw at home in the middle of the week.
Real Betis’ loss to Frankfurt last week cemented a five-time losing streak in all competitions, but a slight success in La Liga against Bilbao on Sunday put them back on winning ways in a crucial moment ahead of the second leg for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Appointed for the top 4 La Liga race, but they should focus first on the second leg of the round of 16 against Frankfurt, in order to try to qualify for the quarter-finals of a major European competition for the first time since 1997-98 when they reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Betis travels to Deutsche Bank Park after already suffering a defeat in Germany this season. Their 4-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in October in the group stage was their biggest loss since the start of the season. Verdiblancos will need to score their first victory over a German opponent since 1995-96, with two goals or more, if they are to preserve their chance of winning the Europa League in the middle of the week.
Frankfurt are concerned about the health of Jesper Lindstrom, who sustained an ankle injury against Bochum last weekend, and there is doubt about Thursday’s game. The hosts are still without Danny da Costa (thigh), Sebastian Rudd (belly), Ragnar Ashe (thigh) and Diannet Ramage (knee). Striker Goncalo Paciencia, who missed the first leg due to a suspension, is available for the second leg and could replace Lindstrom in the starting line-up, joining Kamada and Bouri in attack. Christian Jakic and Djibril Sue are expected to return to the midfield, while goalkeeper Kevin Trapp will be protected by central defenders Ivan Ndica, Martin Hinterger and Tota, all of whom start the first leg.
Meanwhile, Real Betis still lack options at full-back, with Alex Moreno, Hector Bellerin, Martin Montoya and Andres Guardado injured. So left-back Youssouf Sabali should continue to occupy the right-back position, with Juan Miranda ready to work on the other side. Midfielder Victor Camarasa has also been left out, and playmaker Sergio Canales is expected to start despite a minor toe problem in recent weeks. Canales is expected to join Fikr and Juanmi in the midfield behind the heart of striker Willian Jose, who is expected to return to the first team at the expense of Iglesias.
– Eintracht Frankfurt March 16, 2022