Berlin (AFP) – Eintracht Frankfurt have ruled out making big-name signings this summer despite beating Rangers to win the Europa League final, which guaranteed a lucrative first Champions League spot in the club’s history.
Wednesday’s final in Seville was decided by a dramatic penalty shootout with Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp making the only save to deny Rangers midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
Frankfurt’s Colombia striker Raphael Borre then hit the back of the net to seal a 5-4 win on penalties after the match finished 1-1 following extra time.
It ended Eintracht’s 42-year wait for a European title, sparking wild celebrations both in Seville and back in Frankfurt.
“There is not just one hero. We are all heroes,” Trapp said.
“It’s one of the most beautiful moments of my career.
“We couldn’t have done it without the crowd’s support,” he added.
Thousands of Frankfurt fans created a sea of white shirts at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, which created
Winning the Europa League means Eintracht qualify for the Champions League for the first time next season.
– Cash windfall –
They stand to collect around 60 million euros ($63 million) in prize money and bonuses from both competitions, but club president Peter Fischer said he would not be blowing the money on signings.
“Just because we have qualified for the Champions League, we will not tear up all our loans and simply buy,” he insisted.
The money will help bridge losses of 70 million euros that the club suffered from often having to play in empty stadiums during the pandemic.
“Of course, the financial income is extremely good for us after two years of the coronavirus. That will really help us for the future,” said sports director Markus Kroesche.
The Frankfurt team partied through the night in Seville before Thursday’s bleary-eyed flight back to Germany.
A celebration parade awaited them through the streets of Frankfurt, where local police say celebrations often got out of hand in the early hours of Thursday.
The German team deserved to win the final, fighting back with Borre equalising after Joe Aribo capitalised on a Frankfurt mistake to put Rangers ahead early in the second half.
“I am lost for words. We kept coming back,” said Frankfurt’s Austrian coach Oliver Glasner, who capped his first season in charge with a European trophy.
“It was incredibly intense. Everyone squeezed everything out of their own performance one more time.
“I’m going to celebrate until Saturday and then go on holiday.”
The German club was unbeaten in all 13 Europa League games, seeing off Barcelona and then West Ham in the later knockout stages.
Eintracht saved their best performances for Europe having finished mid-table in the Bundesliga, where they lost more games than they won.
Captain Sebastian Rode epitomised the team’s battling spirit, playing most of the final with a bandage covering a head wound.
“This team is incredible. We’re happy to be able to celebrate with the fans because it’s been a tough road,” said Rode.
The former Bayern Munich midfielder was inspired to play on by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who suffered a facial injury while helping Germany win the 2014 World Cup final.
“I was conscious the whole time, it just hurt,” said Rode after taking a kick to the head during an early challenge from Rangers midfielder John Lundstram, who escaped punishment.
“I just thought about ‘Schweini’ in the World Cup final,” he said.
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