UEFA Super Cup final in Helsinki

The roles are clearly defined ahead of the 2022 UEFA Super Cup final in Helsinki.

Only the boldest optimists around challenger Eintracht Frankfurt speak of a surprise when the 2022 Euro League winner is crossing swords with one of the football’s most prominent clubs: 2022 Champions League winner Real Madrid this Wednesday evening.

“If you can play against a club like that, standing for football’s top, you don’t think about winning in the first place. You are full of anticipation to just play them and see how you do,” keeper Kevin Trapp said.

Being flooded by a wave of euphoria at the end of last season after lifting the Euro League trophy for the first time since 1980 (UEFA Cup), every day life is back in Frankfurt.

Being crushed by the reigning German Champion Bayern 6-1 in last week’s national league season-opener led to a certain degree of disillusionment in the team of coach Oliver Glasner.

While the first goal in the duel against Real is to not again experience a nightmare, one of the team’s best has left.

Serbian international Filip Kostic said goodbye to fans and teammates as the 29-year-old is heading for Juve. Reports speak of a deal worth 17 million euros plus bonuses.

The Eagles skipped Kostic’s participation in Helsinki after Juve has asked to release their new arrival to join in as soon as possible.

The German side will have to do without their fast winger as the UEFA Super Cup might not be the most important competition this season from the club’s perspective.

Not only Trapp is looking to experience “what we can expect in this season’s Champions League campaign as we face one of the best in Europe.”

As Euro League winner the Eintracht qualified for this season’s Champions League campaign.

Glasner and his team are intensively focusing on dealing with three competitions coming along with a much higher level in the Champions League compared to last season’s Euro League.

Frankfurt is speaking of a stress test regarding the upcoming weeks “as we have to act an improved defense concept to avoid a result we suffered from against Bayern,” as Trapp put it.

Aside from its trip to Finland, the club’s management is working on updating the current squad as sporting director Markus Kroesche is in negotiations with Paris St Germain to sign 21-year-old midfielder Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe.

Money coming in from Juve for Kostic might help to outpace other interested clubs such as Premier League arrival Nottingham Forest.

The painful defeat against Bayern “somehow showed us how special the journey in the Euro League has been. And, more important, it’s a thing of the past and we need to start again,” former Paris keeper Trapp said. ■