Manuel Veth –
Strasbourg vs Eintracht Frankfurt – Thursday, August 22, 19:30BST/20:30CEST – Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, France
Racing Strasbourg are back in an international competition for the first time since 2006. Financial problems meant that the club had to declare insolvency in 2011 and as a result were re-instated in the fifth tier of French football. Then in 2012 the club was renamed RC Strasbourg Alsace and begun its long way back to first division football, which was completed in 2017 when the club earned promotion from Ligue 2.
Then last season the club beat Marseille, Lyon, and Bordeaux on the way to the Coupe de la Ligue final where EA Guingamp were defeated 4-1. The Coupe de la Ligue, however, is France’s secondary cup competition and does not lead to direct Europa League group stage qualification.
Instead, Strasbourg started their European campaign on July 25 against Maccabi Haifa. A 3-1 home victory was followed by a 2-1 defeat on the road, enough to squeeze through. Up next were Lokomotiv Plovdiv, the Bulgarian side was kicked out thanks to two 1-0 victories.
For Strasbourg, it has, therefore, been a long European campaign. The same, however, is also true for opponents Eintracht Frankfurt, who eliminated FC Flora Tallinn and Vaduz to reach the qualification playoffs of the Europa League. “We are the underdogs,” Strasbourg striker Ludovic Ajorque said to kicker this week. “But we believe in ourselves,” he added.
Last year’s semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt will indeed be the favourites heading into the tie. The Eagles coached by head coach Adi Hütter have once again done well to handle the fine balance between international matches and domestic duties. Not only did Frankfurt reach the playoffs of the Europa League in convincing fashion but the club also eliminated Waldhof Mannheim in the DFB Pokal and took all three points against Hoffenheim on the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season.
That result, in particular, was impressive, given that Frankfurt continue to restructure the starting XI. One player who is on the verge of signing is Dutch striker Bas Dost. But complications with Sporting means that the forward might not be signed in time to help the club against Strasbourg on Thursday. But even without the forward, the Eagles will be favourites to get a positive result in France.
Strasbourg vs Eintracht Frankfurt – Players to look out for:
Kenny Lala #27 – RC Strasbourg
With a transfer value of €14 million right-back, Kenny Lala is the most expensive player in Strasbourg’s squad. The 27-year-old was signed on a free transfer from Lens two years ago and has since developed into a standout player. Strong on the ball, Lala likes to join the attack on the right and also has a fantastic shot that makes him dangerous on set-pieces.
Ante Rebić #4 – Eintracht Frankfurt
Ante Rebić‘s future in Frankfurt remains a big talking point. But with the transfer window closing in just two weeks, his departure becomes ever more unlikely. Good news for head coach Adi Hütter for whom the striker is an important piece in the attack. Rebić’s physical attributes means that he will be a key player to play around new signings Dejan Joveljić and Bas Dost.
Strasbourg vs Eintracht Frankfurt – Match Stats
- The two clubs have played each other in a competitive fixture.
- Strasbourg’s biggest European success was winning the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
- Strasbourg have only faced German opposition once, in 1978/79 they were eliminated by MSV Duisburg in the third round of the UEFA Cup (0-4 on aggregate).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Strasbourg vs Eintracht Frankfurt – 1-2
Strasbourg vs Eintracht Frankfurt – Lineups
Sels – Carole, Mitrović, Koné, Lala – Sissoko, Ndour – Liénard, Corgnet, Zohi – Da Costa
Head Coach: Thierry Laurey
Trapp – Hinteregger, Hasebe, Abraham – Kostić, Torró, Rode, da Costa – Kamada – Paciência, Rebić
Head Coach: Adi Hütter
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.