Rangers hit out over fan treatment during Europa League final in Seville

By Sports Desk May 30, 2022

Rangers say only the "mutual respect of both sets of fans" prevented more severe problems from occurring when the Europa League final was staged in Seville this month.

Eintracht Frankfurt were crowned champions when they beat the Glasgow giants 5-4 on penalties at Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan on May 18.

Representatives of Rangers, the Bundesliga club and Football Supporters Europe (FSE) met last Friday to debrief and discuss "several significant organisational issues" during the final.

Rangers on Monday stated that fans were not treated with the respect and dignity that they should have been.

"Supporters Europe (FSE) met to debrief and discuss several significant organisational issues during the recent UEFA Europa League final in Sevilla," a club statement said.

"These issues could easily have led to even more severe problems on the night and it was only thanks to the calmness and mutual respect of both sets of fans towards each other that there were not more severe injuries suffered. All three parties applaud the remarkable calmness of the two fan bases, given the situation they faced.

"Apart from the severe lack of food and – even more critically in the soaring temperatures – of water, there were several organisational problems around policing, body searches and beyond. Both clubs, as well as FSE, received a huge amount of complaints and witness statements from fans present in the stadium.

"All three parties will now work jointly to report back to UEFA and the local public authorities in Spain, and will make recommendations to ensure these problems can never occur again at a European final.

"Fans spend a lot of effort, time and money following their teams all over Europe and expect to be treated with respect and dignity while attending football games. This expectation was not met at all at the Europa League final in Sevilla."

UEFA have come in for criticism following chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool on Saturday.

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  • Eintracht Frankfurt 1-6 Bayern Munich: Mane and Co. ensure Lewandowski is not missed in emphatic opening win Eintracht Frankfurt 1-6 Bayern Munich: Mane and Co. ensure Lewandowski is not missed in emphatic opening win

    Sadio Mane scored his first Bundesliga goal as Bayern Munich opened the new campaign with a stunning 6-1 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt.

    Europa League winners Frankfurt seemed a tricky first opponent for the champions, but Julian Nagelsmann's side swept them aside in sensational style.

    Having defeated RB Leipzig 5-3 in the DFL-Supercup in their first competitive match after Robert Lewandowski's departure last week, Bayern were five up by half-time on Friday – Joshua Kimmich, Benjamin Pavard, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry joining Mane on the scoresheet.

    Manuel Neuer's sloppiness gifted Randal Kolo Muani a consolation, yet it was a minor blip in a supreme Bayern display, and Musiala capped things off with his second late on.

    Bayern had full control by the 10th minute. Kimmich fooled Kevin Trapp with a long-range free-kick that clipped in off the right-hand upright, before Pavard lashed in his second goal in as many games.

    Juventus-linked Filip Kostic teed up a golden chance for Frankfurt to drag themselves back into contention, only for Tuta to head against the woodwork, which then denied Bayern a third after Gnabry's poor pass sold Thomas Muller short in front of goal.

    Another glorious Eintracht chance went begging due to Jesper Lindstrom's profligacy, but Bayern had their third after Trapp had parried Musiala's effort onto the crossbar – Mane stooping low to head in Gnabry's cross.

    Mane turned architect for Bayern's fourth six minutes later, drawing out the Frankfurt defence and finding Muller, who squared for Musiala, and it was five before half-time when Gnabry squeezed home.

    Kristijan Jakic, one of three half-time Frankfurt substitutes, thought he had pulled a goal back in the 56th minute, yet it was disallowed for offside.

    Neuer hardly covered himself in glory in that incident, and Bayern's captain was entirely at fault eight minutes later when he was bundled off the ball by Kolo Muani.

    Musiala had the final say, though, tucking in after Leroy Sane's exquisite pass to add further gloss to a statement win.

    What does it mean? No Lewy, no problem

    Bayern have now gone unbeaten in their opening league fixture for 11 straight seasons – they went on to win the title in each of the previous 10.

    Although Bayern have lost more times away to Frankfurt than they have any other team (23), they were in top gear from the off, and there was never any danger of another defeat.

    Lewandowski may have gone, but Bayern's attack – spearheaded by Mane and the evergreen Muller, who matched Hans Georg Schwarzenbeck's 416 Bundesliga outings for Bayern (the second-most among outfield players) and finished with two assists – looks scintillating. 

    Magical Mane off to a flyer

    In five of his six Premier League campaigns for Liverpool, Mane scored in his first away game of the season, including on his Reds debut in a 4-3 win at Arsenal in August 2016.

    The Senegal forward always seemed likely to start fast in Germany, and he has done just that. He is the first player to score in his maiden Bundesliga away game for Bayern since Joshua Zirkzee did so against Freiburg in December 2019, while Mario Mandzukic, in 2012, was the last Bayern player to score in his first two appearances for the club in all competitions.

    Few home comforts for Frankfurt

    Friday's game was the ninth example of an away team scoring five before half-time in Bundesliga history, and Bayern are responsible for four of those occasions.

    But in truth, they were helped by a woeful defensive display from their hosts. Frankfurt picked up just 19 points at home (W4 D7 L6) last season, bettering only the two relegated sides in Arminia Bielefeld and Greuther Furth, and Oliver Glasner must strike a better balance.

    What's next?

    Bayern host Wolfsburg in their second Bundesliga game of the season, while Frankfurt travel to Helsinki for the small matter of facing Champions League winners Real Madrid in the Super Cup.

  • Will Bayern's Bundesliga dominance finally come to an end in 2022-23? Will Bayern's Bundesliga dominance finally come to an end in 2022-23?

    Death, taxes and Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga title.

    It is slightly paraphrasing the old idiom to say these are the only three things certain in life.

    Such is the optimism of football fandom, though, the question always arises ahead of the new campaign whether this year will be the one where someone steps up and takes Bayern's throne.

    The 2021-22 season saw the Bavarian giants claim their 10th Bundesliga title in a row, with Julian Nagelsmann leading Bayern to the championship by eight points in his first season at the Allianz Arena.

    Since Jurgen Klopp's exciting Borussia Dortmund side of 2011-12, no team has been able to halt the relentless Bayern dominance of German football.

    In fact, in the last decade, only the 2018-19 campaign saw anyone finish closer than the eight points Dortmund were behind last season, when BVB were just two points shy of their Der Klassiker rivals.

    How can anyone seriously make the argument that their run will halt any time soon then? Well, let Stats Perform have a go as we take a look at some of the reasons why Bayern might struggle to maintain their stranglehold in 2022-23.

     

    Loss of Lewy means new Bayern approach

    Bayern's signing of Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund in 2014 was one of the catalysts for their concerted period of dominance.

    However, after eight years of service and 238 goals in 253 Bundesliga games for Bayern, the Poland striker wanted to move on and eventually sealed a transfer to Barcelona.

    His goals-per-game ratio in the German top flight of 0.94 bested even the great Gerd Muller (0.85), and his loss was certainly not one Bayern had planned for, with the club initially indicating they expected him to honour the final year of his contract, before finally relenting.

    Despite being 33 years old, Lewandowski's impact had not waned at all, with him scoring 50 goals in all club competitions last season, making it seven consecutive seasons with at least 40 goals to his name.

    Nagelsmann has insisted his team will evolve in Lewandowski's absence, though, and the signing of Sadio Mane appears to suggest that.

    After Lewandowski's sale was confirmed, Nagelsmann told BR24: "I'm not worried right now, we are very well-equipped offensively and I'm still spoiled for choice. We have a possibility of building FC Bayern without a striker that can reliably score 40 goals."

    With 120 goals in all competitions for Liverpool, Mane averaged a goal every 178.3 minutes for the Reds – a return of one in slightly under two matches. He also assisted 37 goals, meaning he was directly involved in a goal every 137 minutes.

    In the Premier League, only Harry Kane (134), former team-mate Mohamed Salah (118) and Leicester City's Jamie Vardy (104) scored more goals than Mane (90) over the course of his Liverpool career.

    His scoring rate has never been close to that of Lewandowski, though he has played a significant amount of his career on the left of a front three rather than through the middle, where he ended last season for Liverpool and is expected to mostly play at Bayern.

    That means the likes of Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala and Thomas Muller will need to step up and contribute more goals, while it will be interesting to see if 17-year-old striker Mathys Tel will feature much in his first season after signing from Rennes.

    The club has also added Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui from Ajax, while former Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has arrived from Juventus to replace the outgoing Niklas Sule, who chose to swap Munich for Dortmund when his contract expired.

    Will Dortmund finally solve flakiness issue?

    Marco Rose looked to be a very astute appointment in 2021, but the former Borussia Monchengladbach boss just did not work out at Dortmund.

    Rose has been replaced by Edin Terzic, who enjoyed a spell as caretaker boss in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, winning the DFB-Pokal.

    Terzic now has the reins permanently and has two big jobs on his hands.

    The first is fixing a leaky defence, which conceded 52 goals in the Bundesliga last season, more than any other team to finish in the top eight, and only one goal fewer than relegated Arminia Bielefeld.

    The club may have addressed the issue in the transfer market as they have essentially procured the German national team's central defence by adding Sule from Bayern on a free transfer and the highly rated Nico Schlotterbeck from Freiburg.

    Schlotterbeck won 69 per cent of his duels in the Bundesliga last season, the joint-most of all players who contested at least 100 duels, while Sule was third with 68 per cent.

    Another issue that needed addressing was similar to Bayern's Lewandowski issue, with Erling Haaland having departed for Manchester City.

    The Norwegian scored 86 goals in 89 appearances at Dortmund, including 22 of their 85 league goals last season, though he was only able to feature in 24 games due to injury.

    Sebastien Haller was signed to replace Haaland but will unfortunately miss the first few months of the campaign after undergoing surgery for a testicular tumour.

    The addition of exciting young talent Karim Adeyemi from Salzburg will give them a dynamic in attack they have missed since selling Jadon Sancho to Manchester United, while in Haller's absence it will be interesting to see if Youssoufa Moukoko, still just 17-years-old, can add to the five Bundesliga goals he already has to his name.

    Having also signed defensive midfielder Salih Ozcan from Cologne to provide some steel alongside Jude Bellingham, who it appears they will be keeping hold of for another season at least, the balance of a frequently wobbly side could be there for Terzic to build some momentum.

    Best of the rest

    Bayer Leverkusen enjoyed a strong campaign last season and have replaced Lucas Alario with promising Czech striker Adam Hlozek.

    They also appear to have fought off interest in Moussa Diaby so it would not be a surprise to see them go well again, but with Champions League football to contend with, questions remain whether they have the depth of squad to excel on all fronts.

    RB Leipzig will hope to provide a challenge and have also kept hold of their star player in Christopher Nkunku, though losing Tyler Adams and Nordi Mukiele will be a blow, while Eintracht Frankfurt will want to build on last season's Europa League success.

    It would be churlish to write Bayern off, of course. They go into the season as heavy favourites and rightly so.

     

    Mane might not have the same goalscoring output as Lewandowski, but football has proven time and again that having one player who scores lots of goals is not the only way to be successful.

    The African Football Player of the Year has the chance to be the face of the new Bayern, where everyone will be expected to chip in and Nagelsmann can truly cement his ideas on the team.

    However, while Bayern have been somewhat forced into a new era, Dortmund appear to have reached theirs more by design and if everything clicks early on for Terzic, an exciting title race could develop.

    After all, the only thing that is certain about football is that nothing is certain.

  • 'Who the f*** is Mane?' – Eintracht chief's cheeky swipe at Bayern new boy 'Who the f*** is Mane?' – Eintracht chief's cheeky swipe at Bayern new boy

    Sadio Mane has yet to kick a ball in the Bundesliga and already the former Liverpool striker is facing jibes – including a tongue-in-cheek volley from Bayern Munich's opening-day opponents.

    Eintracht Frankfurt president Peter Fischer is relishing Friday's tussle between his team, who lifted the Europa League trophy in May, and German champions Bayern.

    There is a feelgood factor around Eintracht as the new season arrives, with a UEFA Super Cup clash against Real Madrid coming up next Wednesday.

    Confidence is surging, and even the prospect of facing Bayern is not intimidating the team that trailed in 11th in last season's Bundesliga.

    Bayern have lost Robert Lewandowski since he hit 50 goals last season, and few would expect new addition Sadio Mane to come close to that tally.

    Not many would see it wise to be hurling insults his way, though, however light-hearted the intention.

    Fischer, in an interview with broadcasters RTL and n-tv, did just that though, as he said: "Who the f*** is Mane?"

     

    Fischer added: "By the way, we always did relatively well with Robert Lewandowski."

    That is debatable, given that Lewandowski scored 15 goals in 18 appearances against Eintracht, prior to his close-season switch to Barcelona. They came at a rate of one every 91.53 minutes.

    Fischer predicted there would be "an exciting mood in the stadium" as Eintracht host the 10-in-a-row champions.

    "And of course we have a chance. If it ends in a draw, I won't start to cry either."

    Eintracht head coach Oliver Glasner worked with Mane when the Senegalese forward moved from Metz to Salzburg in 2012, and he has since admired the 30-year-old from afar, particularly during his stellar six-year Liverpool career.

    "I am happy that Sadio is in the Bundesliga now," Glasner told a news conference. "It's been 10 years since I got to know him. He was just a young boy that was relegated from the French second to third division. He only spoke French but had enormous talent.

    "He was very ambitious and had a clear idea. When we talked about learning German, he said he wants to learn English because he wants to go to the Premier League.

    "I am very happy for him. And for Bayern to sign a player from Liverpool is evidence of the attractiveness of the Bundesliga which they were afraid of losing."

    Glasner said his team would not be "raising the white flag" of surrender against Bayern and would "do everything we can" to score the upset win, even if he sees Bayern as champions in waiting once again.

    After Bayern comes the Madrid game for Eintracht in Helsinki.

    "This morning I said it's actually cool for us," Glasner added. "We play the Champions League winners three years ago on Friday and the current Champions League winners on Wednesday. Quite a cool start. Nevertheless, I think that over the course of the Bundesliga season, Bayern will have the edge again."

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