Eintracht reach Europa League play-offs
Jonathan de Guzman scored the only goal of the game as Eintracht Frankfurt beat FC Vaduz 1-0 to seal a 6-0 aggregate victory in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
In front of 48,000 supporters at the Commerzbank-Arena, de Guzman fired home off the underside of the crossbar after Mijat Gacinovic had struck the woodwork. Dejan Joveljic almost scored his second Eintracht goal late on, but shot straight at Vaduz goalkeeper Benjamin Büchel from close range.
Personnel: Chandler returns to starting XI
Head coach Adi Hütter made nine changes to the Eagles side that beat SV Waldhof Mannheim in the DFB Cup, with Joveljic and Kevin Trapp the sole survivors from Sunday’s match. Sebastian Rode made his first appearance since rejoining the club on a permanent deal from Borussia Dortmund, while USA international Timothy Chandler was handed his first start since May 2018.
First half: de Guzman extends Eagles’ lead
It was Chandler who went closest to giving Eintracht an early lead at the Commerzbank-Arena. The 29-year-old was given time and space to control Erik Durm’s deep cross from the right, but his goal-bound effort was blocked by a Vaduz defender. The visitors barely threatened until mid-way through the first half, when Trapp produced an outstanding one-handed save to deny Pius Dorn from the edge of the penalty area.
The Eagles extended their aggregate advantage shortly after the half-hour mark. Gacinovic’s fierce effort cannoned off the frame of the goal, but de Guzman was on hand to lash home the rebound via the underside of the crossbar. Almamy Toure went close to doubling the hosts’ lead shortly before half-time, but his overhead kick was tipped onto the frame of the goal by Büchel.
Second half: Eintracht see out comfortable win
Perhaps unsurprisingly given their comfortable aggregate lead, Hütter’s charges took their foot off the gas a little after the restart, while Vaduz continued to push forward in search of a consolation. Manuel Sutter nearly got on the end of a dangerous cross ten minutes into the second half, but the striker was unable to get a decisive touch after escaping the attentions of the Eintracht defence.
Joveljic should have doubled the Eagles’ lead with ten minutes remaining after fine work from second-half substitute Daichi Kamada, but the teenager was thwarted by Büchel from point-blank range. It mattered little, however, as Eintracht comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to take another big step towards the Europa League group stage.
Summary: Strasbourg await
The Eagles can now turn their attentions to next week’s play-off round, where they will face French side RC Strasbourg. The only sour note of the night from the hosts’ perspective was a first-half injury to Russ, who looked in considerable discomfort after landing awkwardly on his right leg and had to be helped off the field.
1-0 de Guzman (31’)
Trapp - Toure, Russ (Hinteregger 37’), Ndicka - Torró - Durm, de Guzman, Rode (Kamada 72’), Chandler - Gacinovic (Paciencia 66’) - Joveljic