Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp was the hero for Eintracht Frankfurt, with his important saves in extra time and later, the penalty shootout, as the Bundesliga side beat Rangers to win the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League – their first European cup win in 42 years.
Rafael Santos Borre’s winning spot-kick brought a European cup back to Frankfurt for the first time since 1980, sparking wild celebrations in Seville, where Die Adler beat Scottish champions Rangers to lift the trophy and back home in the old town square.
During their run-in, Oliver Glasner’s men had beaten Barcelona and West Ham United, and their dominant display during the early stages of the final at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium only corroborated the fact.
Despite their dominance, Frankfurt tested Rangers custodian Allan McGregor just once in the first half, the on-loan Ansgar Knauff forcing the Scotsman into a sharp stop at his near post. At the other end, Rangers’ semi-final hero John Lundstram came closest to beating Trapp – his header tipped over the bar by the custodian.
The game opened up in the second half and some calamitous defending by the Frankfurt backline allowed Joe Aribo to give Rangers the lead against the run of play in the 57th minute. Aribo capitalized on a poor back-header and a slip by Djibril Sow and Tuta, respectively, before sliding the ball past Trapp. However, Frankfurt weren’t behind for long; Borre brought Die Adler level in the 69th minute by turning in a Filip Kostic cross by racing ahead of his marker Calvin Bassey.
McGregor forced extra time by preventing Kostic from giving Frankfurt the lead late on, but it was his counterpart Trapp who shone in the thirty minutes that followed, making stunning stops to deny Borna Barisic, Ryan Kent, and James Tavernier.
As a result, for the second successive year, the Europa League went to a penalty shootout where Trapp again made the crucial save from Aaron Ramsey. Meanwhile, Frankfurt converted all five of their kicks, thus winning the cup 5-4 on penalties – and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League since 1959.