Et is no other city in which Eintracht has played as often as London since returning to the European stage: In May 2019, in the metropolis on the Thames, they lost in a very close penalty shoot-out that had epic traits, defeated Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Europa League, beat Arsenal in the group stage of the competition four months later, and most recently duped West Ham United en route to victory in Seville in April.
So the Frankfurters returned to the British Isles with a lot of special memories and good intentions for the first Champions League clash. In the encounter with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, however, they were unable to add another (respectable) success to their England record, which would also have further increased their chances of being in the round of 16 in the premier class even after the winter break.
The eighth in the Bundesliga lost 3-2 to the third in the Premier League. The point haul for Frankfurt in Group D is still four points, while Tottenham now has seven. In the game played at the same time, Olympique Marseille prevailed 2-0 at Sporting Lisbon (both now on six points). The accounts will be settled in three weeks, until then Eintracht still have to play the home game against Marseille (October 26) and the appearance in Lisbon (November 1).
How the Frankfurters would try to counter the opponent’s imminent momentum in such a way that there was no early threat of disaster could be seen in the tactical orientation: A main focus was on a defensive block, in which Sebastian Rode was responsible as the pacemaker should carry, while at the same time the line-up of Jesper Lindström (who was preferred to Mario Götze), Daichi Kamadas and Randal Kolo Muanis illustrate the hope of being able to take the initiative and create opportunities. Glasner had announced that the eleven would be different in terms of the line-up than when they went wrong in Bochum, but that he was also certain that the attitude with which everyone would start work would be the highest due to the weak points being worked through requirements.
The coach said he had “zero doubts about the character” of his players, because he could vouch for one thing: “they will always try everything”. It initially looked edifying on White Hart Lane, but later the futility of their actions became clear.
With Makoto Hasebe as organizer, an orderly was added in the back row in front of keeper Kevin Trapp to assist Tuta and Evan Ndicka; However, he was not able to live up to this claim as convincingly as in the past.
Cheat didn’t work
As left-back, Christopher Lenz replaced Luca Pellegrini, who was handicapped by shoulder problems, and repeatedly reached his limits. On the opposite side, Ansgar Knauff, who had also injured his thigh in the final training session, started with Kristijan Jakic – this move didn’t work out as desired either.
However, it didn’t take long for Eintracht’s initially fearless approach to pay off: Lindström benefited from Eric Dier’s poor reception of the ball during the build-up, from whom he took the ball in the penalty area – the Dane promptly passed it on to Muani, who put it back to Rode, who finally staged Kamada. The Japanese didn’t miss the opportunity from eight meters out (14th minute).
It was Kamada’s fourth goal for Eintracht on a visit to London. But the lead didn’t last long. Harry Kane, who didn’t get a stab against Hasebe a week ago, fooled the Eintracht oldie early this time and then threw his pass between the lines of the Frankfurt defense: The action was completed by a low shot into the right corner by Heung-min Son completed to 1:1 (20th).
And further trouble for the Glasner collective was not long in coming. After Jakic had knocked Kane off his feet in the penalty area, the Spanish referee Carlos Grande – contrary to his original intention – decided to take a penalty after the intervention of the video assistant. Kane didn’t miss the chance: he beat Trapp to make it 2-1 (28th). With that, the momentum had switched over to the Spurs, who at times demoted Eintracht to the role of extra with powerful power play and in Son had a bundle of energy in their ranks that was almost impossible to hold. Upon submission by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, the South Korean took a cross directly and smashed the ball under the bar at high speed to make it 3-1 (36′).
If Trapp hadn’t parried Ryan Sessegnon in dire need after the change of sides (52nd), Eintracht would have been ordered early. So the belief remained – at least theoretically – that a happy coincidence in football’s fate could bring about a turning point in the final phase. And although there was a lack of manpower due to Tuta being sent off (60′), Faride Alidou actually managed to get back the goal (87′). But that wasn’t enough to shake the Spurs’ superiority towards the end of the evening. Instead, Hrvoje Smolcic gave Bryan Gil another penalty – but Kane missed this last-minute opportunity (90′).