Eintracht Frankfurt – Chelsea: Frankfurt’s Brilliant Defensive Plan Frustrates Chelsea (1-1)
European semi-finals are often highly anticipated, entertaining and thrilling tactical battles. Eintracht Frankfurt versus Chelsea was no different. Against a compact, man-marking and aggressive pressing unit, Sarri’s team struggled throughout, but adapted and were able to claim an important away goal.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
Both these clubs sit in fourth place in their respective leagues, yet their views on the Europa League competition could not be more different. Being in the Champions League is an expectation for Chelsea and one could even make the argument that competing on Thursday nights has been more of an inconvenience than a benefit for Maurizio Sarri’s team. However, now they are this far in, it would be a shame to not grasp the opportunity to win a European cup.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s view on this competition is polar opposite. An incredible comeback at home to SL Benfica meant that this is their first European semi-final since 1980. The fact that Adi Hütter has not only led Frankfurt to this point in Europe but improved the club’s position in the league as well is testament to his work so far as manager.
Hütter’s high pressing schemes and quick attacking sequences have developed Frankfurt into Bundesliga and Europa League surprise package. With no Sébastien Haller or Ante Rebić available, the hosts adapted, as Mijat Gaćinović and Filip Kostić came in to replace them. Frankfurt started in a 3-5-1-1 shape, the threat of Luka Jović something the Chelsea defense had to be well aware of.
Sarri’s tactics have been questioned regularly, Chelsea’s Premier League form being inconsistent throughout the season. However . . .