The Eagles took a 1-1 first leg win from their Deutsch Bank stadium to Spain, where they displayed an attacking and defensive masterclass for the home crowd to witness.
In the first three minutes of the game, they were a goal up when Filip Kostoc slotted a penalty kick past Marc-Andre ter Stegen. By the end of the first half, Barcelona were two goals down after down-on-his-luck forward Rafael Borré scored a belter to increase the aggregate scoreline to 3-1 in favour of the German side.
The second half was more of the same, with Kostic netting his second and Frankfurt’s fourth of the tie, before a late rally in the additional nine minutes of the match saw Barcelona pull two goals back via a stunner from captain Sergio Busquets and a spot kick from Memphis Depay.
Frankfurt, who had an estimated 30,000 in their corner at the Camp Nou, brought their home with them and drowned out the Blaugrana of Barcelona, which also contributed to their immense victory. They have now set up a semi-final with West Ham United, who beat Olympique Lyonnais 4-1 in the second match of their quarter-finals bracket.
An ecstatic Frankfurt led by Oliver Glasner could not contain their joy over such a famous win in a famous stadium like the Camp Nou.
Glasner, whose side are currently ninth on the German Bundesliga table and without hope of European football next season, will be very excited for the opportunity to secure a spot among Europe’s elite following Frankfurt’s progression to the semi-finals of the Europa League.
Speaking about the match, Glasner said: “Huge credit to the players for what they did here. They did everything perfectly for 85 minutes.
“We had a game plan with our intensity, our power. We let them have the ball where we didn’t feel they could cause problems. The players achieved something that hardly ever happens anywhere in the world.
“We celebrated this great victory as one with the fans. Many thanks to the players and supporters. It leaves a mark on your heart.”
Frankfurt have now set up a rematch with West Ham after losing to the London outfit in the 1976 semi-finals of the then UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (now known as the Europa League) 4-3 on aggregate.
Veteran midfielder Sebastian Rode, who captains the Eagles, echoed his manager’s sentiments. “It gives you incredible energy to play in front of these fans. We gave everything to achieve our dream of winning against Barcelona.
“Eintracht’s development is incredible. Ten years ago, I was still in the second division with the club, now they’re in the semi-finals of the Europa League for the second time in four seasons.”
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez admitted that his side were outclassed on the night. “Eintracht played to their strengths really well, they were tough, physical and very good in their own sixteen-yard box.
“They play on the counter-attack and counter-press in a way I’ve only seen from a few teams in my career. We didn’t defend either well and were unable to stop them. Congratulations to Eintracht, they deserve to progress.”
Kevin Trapp, the Eagles’ goalkeeper had very little to do in the game. He, however, pulled through when called into action on the rare occasion.
The German shot-stopper said that there are no words to describe the win over Barcelona, which was on the back of an amazing travelling support. “There are no words to describe what’s going on here. Everyone thought we’d come here and Barcelona would boot us out of the stadium, but it wasn’t like that.
“We’re now in the semi-finals and have two really tough games ahead of us, but we’ll give everything to emerge victorious. We obviously want to get to the final now. It’s an evening full of pride and joy, and a very emotional one. I’ve seen a lot, but this is incredible.”