Any fans of Gene Pitney here? Nope, me neither. However, he wrote a song called 24 Hours From Tulsa; well Chelsea are 180 minutes from Baku and the Europa League Final. In our way are Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, who definitely have nothing to do with Tulsa, or Gene Pitney – unless any Eintracht fans out there know different, or indeed, any very knowledgeable Chelsea fans? Answers on a postcard to Mr S at Chelsea Independent Mansions, SW6 if you know different.
After the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday, we go into the game without our own German in Toni Rudiger, this after he injured his knee. Subsequent surgery will rule him out for the remainder of the season, so we here at Chelsea Independent wish our central defender well and here’s to him regaining his fitness for the 2019/20 season. With Rudiger ruled out, it should give Andreas Christensen game time for the remaining matches this season.
Eintracht came through their Europa League group with a 100% record, beating Lazio, Apollon Limassol and Marseille. They then came through the round of 32 by beating Shakhtar Donetsk 6-3 on aggregate. The round of 16 then paired them with Inter Milan; Frankfurt won 0-1 in Italy with a 0-0 draw back at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt.
Arguably the most impressive round for Eintracht came in the Quarter Final; after losing 4-2 away to Benfica, they secured a 2-0 win at home to go through on away goals, the Eintracht goals came courtesy of Kostic and Rode. Sadly for Benfica though the 100 year curse of Béla Guttmann still continues. If you’re unsure of the curse, just google Béla Guttmann.
Eintracht are currently fourth in the Bundesliga; their last game was a 0-0 home draw against Hertha Berlin. Hertha edged the possession, although they had Klünter sent off with ten minutes to go. In that game Eintracht lined up with a 3-1-4-2 formation with Jović and Rebić up top.
Incredibly, by my reckoning, this will be our 35th Semi Final since 1994 and this will be the second under the reign of Sarri. The first was the win over Spurs in the Carabao Cup earlier this year. If Chelsea win the Europa League this season it will be Sarri’s first major trophy during his time either at Napoli, or Chelsea.
My Prediction: Having not seen Eintracht play this season, it’s difficult to predict how they’ll play. The 2-0 win over Benfica was impressive, but their home form can be patchy. More recently (April 14) they lost to Augsburg who are 14th in the Bundesliga. I’d happily go with a 0-1 win for Chelsea, but instead, I’ll go with 0-2.