Frankfurt can lift the Europa Trophy in what promises to be an entertaining final
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking the best sportsbook sites we can see that bookmakers are predicting a German win. Eintracht Frankfurt are the favorite across the board, at around 2.28, with Scottish contenders Rangers available at 3.00 and the normal time tie priced at 3.40.
|Europa League Final|
How they Reached the Final
Eintracht Frankfurt dominated their Group, winning all of their games and avoiding the playoffs. They had to work hard to advance past Real Betis in the Round of 16, but their biggest win came against tournament favorites Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
The Catalan giants drew 1-1 in Frankfurt, but were undone by the visitors in the return leg at Camp Nou, conceding a three goals without reply. Frankfurt held on to win the game 3-2 and then faced Premier League West Ham, prevailing thanks to a crucial away leg victory to reach the Final.
Rangers were not expected to make it past the first round of the competition, despite being the reigning Scottish champions. They finished second in their group, much behind Lyon and one point ahead of Sparta Prague, but in the playoffs, they stunned European football by defeating German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund over two legs.
In the Round of 16, they defeated Red Star Belgrade 4-2 before overcoming Braga in extra time in the quarter-finals. Widely expected to lose in the semi-finals to RB Leipzig, they came back from a 1-0 first leg deficit to win 3-1 at Ibrox and reach their first European final since 2008.
European Record of Rangers and Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt will be competing in only their second European final, although they can boast that their first appearance resulted in a victory. That happened in 1980, when they won the UEFA Cup on the away goals rule over fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.
By contrast, Rangers have competed in four European finals, but have only won one of them, back in 1972 when they won the old Cup Winners' Cup, a tournament for winners of European domestic cup competitions. Their most recent European final was a 2-0 loss to Zenit St Petersburg in the old UEFA Cup, a tournament that was effectively superseded by the Europa League.
More memorably, the only meeting between these two teams in European football came back in 1960, when they were drawn together in the semi-finals of the European Cup. That tie ended in a 12-4 aggregate triumph for Frankfurt, although they were eventually defeated in the Final by a legendary Real Madrid side that featured the great Ferenc Puskas.
Best Bet for the Europa League Final
Rangers will be the apparent underdogs in this game, despite their achievements in this campaign thus far, and that may work in their favor as they can play without the added strain of expectation. It is also fair to say that they have some true world-class talent on their team, not least captain and right-back James Tavernier, who has the distinction of being the tournament's best scorer with seven goals.
Tavernier's goal production may be limited in this game, however, due to his defensive responsibilities. He'll face Frankfurt's left-sided forward Filip Kostic, whose performance against Barcelona was crucial to the German side's progress, and who has seven assists this season. His ability to produce game-winning opportunities while keeping Tavernier quiet could be crucial.
Both teams will be dealing with severe injury issues heading into this game, which is to be anticipated after such a long season. Rangers will be without important striker Alfredo Morales and will hope that Kemar Roofe can recover from a knee injury in time, while Frankfurt will be missing five first-team players.
Rangers are in better form heading into this match, but their domestic football is far less demanding than that of the Bundesliga. Importantly, because this game will be played at a neutral stadium, the Scots will not be able to rely on the intimidating atmosphere of Ibrox, whereas their opponents have demonstrated that they can produce plenty of noise away from home, as they did against Barcelona.
It promises to be an absorbing game, but Frankfurt is the better team of the two, and I believe they will come out on top in a high-scoring final.
Europa League Other Market Picks
The tight Final between Villarreal and Manchester United last year was unusually low-scoring, given that the past seven Europa League Finals averaged 3.25 goals per game.
It's also interesting to note that neither of these teams has been particularly defensive during the tournament, so on balance, this appears to be a good opportunity to back the Over in the Over/Under 2.5 goals market for the Seville showpiece occasion.
Best Online Sportsbooks to Bet on the Europa League Final