BARCELONA 2-3 EINTRACHT FRANKFURT (3-4 agg): Xavi’s side are eliminated from the quarter-finals of the Europa League after a heavy defeat by Frankfurt despite a late rally
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Barcelona were humiliated in a heavy Europa League defeat to Bundesliga midfielder Eintracht Frankfurt at the Camp Nou.
Ninth-placed in La Liga, Frankfurt tore the Catalan giants to pieces in an impressive performance to secure their place in the semi-finals. Filip Kostic scored twice for the visitors on either side of a stunning long-range effort from Rafael Santos Borre.
Kostic put Frankfurt ahead with a fourth-minute penalty after Eric Garcia pulled Jesper Lindstrom to the ground and after the German side missed several chances, Santos Borre deservedly doubled their lead with a contender for goal of the tournament.
Midway through the second half, Kostic added a third with a powerful left-footed shot into the corner and after Frankfurt squandered more chances, Barca started a late rally. Sergio Busquets ruled out an offside goal in the 84 th minute and as the game went into injury time, the midfielder pulled off a searing shot to set up some dramatic injury time.
The drama continued as Memphis Depay reduced a penalty to make it 2-3 in the 11th minute of added time, while the visitors’ defender Evan N’Dicka was sent off with a second yellow card suspension but Frankfurt celebrated a deserved win. Here are five talking points from a dramatic night in Barcelona.
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Tonight was the third game in Europe this season where Barcelona’s weaknesses were exposed by a German side. They had already twice lost 3-0 to FC Bayern Munich this season, and now they suffered another bitter defeat against a Bundesliga side. When Bayern striker Thomas Müller was identified earlier in the seasonBarca are suspended in this game because they ‘can’t handle the intensity’ offered by those from other leagues.
Muller said after Bayern’s consecutive three-goal victories over Barca: “I think Barça can’t handle the intensity. Technically, they have everything, they’re great players, tactically and technically. But they can’t handle it.” the intensity of top-flight football.” Those words became prophetic that night.
Invasion of Frankfurt
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Eintracht Frankfurt has one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in Germany and that was clearer than ever on Thursday in the Catalan capital. Up to 30,000 fans had reportedly descended on Barcelona and this is how it looked at the Camp Nou.
The stadium appeared to be half filled with the white-jersey Frankfurters cheering on their team, each goal being met with a deafening roar from their massive fan base. Barca fans were so unhappy with the number of visitors – their main Ultras groups left the stadium en masse in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
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Barcelona have not lost a game in La Ligs since December 3 and have risen to second in the table after Xavi inherited a mid-table team. They were instilled as favorites for the Europa League title after they dropped out Champions Leaguebut the reality turned out to be somewhat different.
This two-legged game against Frankfurt, who are bobbing in ninth place in the Bundesliga, was a reality check. Barca were thoroughly outplayed in both games – they were very lucky to draw 1-1 in Germany – and were outclassed at home. This shows that Barca are still some way behind Europe’s elite teams and while things are looking up under Xavi, there is still a very long way to go.
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He wasn’t the obvious star of the night but Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp was a great redemption story with his calm and confident performance. More than five years ago, he was the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper who conceded six goals in Barca’s famous ‘Remontada’ in the Champions League round of 16.
Trapp had no fault or blame of any kind that night, but it was a painful night in his career and the kind of experience many players would struggle to recover from. Trapp established himself as Frankfurt’s number one in the following years and was flawless and absolutely sovereign on his first return to the Camp Nou since that evening.
Camp Nou not a fortress
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Barcelona’s recent home record in European competition has been absolutely terrible and the Camp Nou is no longer the fortress for visitors it has been in years past.
The Blaugrana have been humiliated juventus (0:3) and Paris Saint-Germain (1:4) at the end of last season in the Champions League, while in the group stage they lost by three goals at home to Bayern Munich. They defeated Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 thanks to an own goal before being held by Benfica in a goalless draw – which ultimately helped oversee Barca’s elimination from the group stage.
The record in the Europa League has not improved, Thursday’s clash preceded by two stunning draws against Napoli and Galatasaray respectively. Barca won their away games to seal their place in the quarterfinals.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/barcelona-eintracht-frankfurt-europa-league-26717696 Barcelona eliminated from Europa League in humiliating manner - 5 talking points