Eintracht Frankfurt played its first ever competitive game against Chelsea. the Bundesliga side made sure their impressive opening 20 minutes didn’t go to waste as they held on to deny Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea a late victory that wouldn’t have been undeserved.
Spurred on by yet another special atmosphere from the Frankfurt fans celebrating the club’s last home European game of the season, Adi Hütter’s side burst out of the blocks. Frankfurt’s high pressing unsettled Chelsea and eventually the Eagles made it count. Filip Kostic drilled a low cross into the box, and Luka Jovic masterfully guided a header into the far corner. Frankfurt’s performance surely provided a major surge in Europa League betting lines at 888
Chelsea took a little bit to react, but slowly began to wrestle back control. Ruben Loftus-Cheek grew into the game as Chelsea won corner after corner. With the seventh of the half, they struck. Loftus-Cheek somehow managed to work space in the box to find Pedro, who did equally well to fashion a yard or two of space that allowed him to fire a shot through the crowd past Kevin Trapp.
The goal spurred Chelsea into action and the Premier League side dominated the second half, with Trapp making a handful of tidy saves to keep Frankfurt in it. Loftus-Cheek blazed over and David Luiz hit the bar with a free kick as Frankfurt suddenly started to hang on. Surprisingly, star striker, Eden Hazard was not in the starting lineup, but was subbed on later in the game
Hütter’s decision to bring on Goncalo Paciencia changed things a bit for the home side, and David Abraham nearly won it late on but sent his free header over the bar.
In the end, thanks to Trapp and some determined defending, Frankfurt held on for a draw that leaves the tie perfectly in the balance. While Chelsea’s away goal leaves them in the driving seat, the Bundesliga will argue Chelsea have always been favoriutes. Next week in London, Frankfurt will dare to defy the odds one last time and secure a spot in the Europa League final. The 1-1 draw in Frankfurt means they have given themselves a real chance of doing just that.
But Chelsea will be boosted by the manner in which Frankfurt got thrashed 6-1 against Bayer Leverkusen.