James Tavernier's first Europa League run appeared likely to be his last.

The right-back finally got his chance at Newcastle United in 2012-13 as Alan Pardew's first-team squad was stretched to breaking point.

However, Tavernier's chance equated to just eight appearances and five starts in all competitions, utilised right across the defence. He played 301 minutes in Europe (including qualifiers) but looked a little out of his depth.

By the time Newcastle reached the quarter-finals of the competition, Tavernier had played his last game for the club.

The following season brought the fifth and sixth loan moves of his career – all to League One or below. A permanent transfer to Wigan Athletic followed, but Tavernier was soon back out on loan again – to League One again.

This underwhelming sequence of temporary moves to the third tier for a player once seen as a potential Premier League starter was interrupted then by Rangers. Heading to the Scottish Championship, it would have taken incredible foresight to even imagine how Tavernier's career might be transformed.

Newcastle may not have had another European campaign in the past nine years, but Tavernier has enjoyed five – and now, in Seville, a final.

The right-back goal machine

Rangers hoped for goals when they struck a deal with Wigan to bring Martyn Waghorn and Tavernier to Ibrox in 2015. Waghorn delivered in the club's promotion campaign, scoring 28 times in all competitions, but Rangers surely could not have anticipated Tavernier would also chip in with 15.

While Waghorn is long gone, having not performed at quite the same level on Rangers' return to the top tier, Tavernier has since maintained his staggering standard. In 345 Rangers appearances, the defender has scored 83 goals.

This season, Tavernier has scored 18 goals and assisted a further 16 for 34 goal involvements.

Having either scored or assisted every 147 minutes on average in 2021-22, Tavernier is operating in the same sort of range as Rafael Leao (141), Dejan Kulusevski (144), Luis Suarez (153) and, incredibly, Sadio Mane (157).

Nahuel Molina, the highest-scoring defender in Europe's top five leagues, has scored just eight times, while even Trent Alexander-Arnold's leading goal involvements tally of 20 is dwarfed by the man playing north of the border.

Tavernier's status as Rangers' penalty taker boosts his numbers, of course, but he still has six goals and 22 goal involvements discounting his dozen efforts from 12 yards.

The standard of the competition in Scotland might also be counted against Tavernier, yet his 16 European appearances alone have yielded seven goals (three non-penalty goals), three assists and 10 goal involvements – again at a rate of one every 147 minutes.

Top marksman with Morelos missing

Tavernier's first goal involvement of this European campaign saw the Rangers captain lift a pass in behind the Alashkert defence for Alfredo Morelos to score what proved to be the decisive goal of their Europa League play-off, getting the then Scottish champions back on track after Champions League qualifying heartbreak.

Wednesday's final against Eintracht Frankfurt would not have been possible without that August example of this most effective assister-scorer combination.

Unfortunately, Rangers will not be able to rely on that link-up again this week, with Morelos ruled out for the season when he underwent thigh surgery last month, seemingly dealing a sizeable blow to his side's hopes of European glory.

Morelos, with 29 goals, is Rangers' all-time leading European marksman, while he this season also became their top scorer discounting qualifiers as he brought his total to 15.

"It is a big blow to us, because he is our striker and we now don't have him any more this season, so we are disappointed," manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said.

"But we know what the problem is, how long he's out, and we have to move on. That's the only thing we have to do now."

Tavernier has since ensured the talismanic forward has not been missed. His seven goals are the most ever by a Rangers player in a European campaign (excluding qualifiers) – Morelos in 2019-20 had a share of the previous record of six – and remarkably make him the leading scorer in this season's Europa League.

The man for the big occasion, each of Tavernier's goals have come in the knockout stage, including opening the scoring in each of Rangers' four home legs.

When Kemar Roofe joined Morelos on the sidelines against RB Leipzig in the semi-finals, it was Tavernier who appeared in the centre-forward position to level the tie in Glasgow with his 15th European goal (10 excluding qualifiers).

Trent of the Europa League

The first of Tavernier's European goals came back in July 2018, by which point Alexander-Arnold had already played in a Champions League final for Liverpool.

Alexander-Arnold might be seven years Tavernier's junior, but he has been a source of inspiration in recent seasons for the Rangers skipper, who named him alongside Liverpool team-mate Andy Robertson and Brazil greats Dani Alves, Marcelo and Cafu in October 2020 as a standard-bearer in the full-back role.

And comparisons between the pair, both of whom are preparing for European finals, come easily.

Alexander-Arnold has created 19 chances in the Champions League this season, just behind Tavernier's 20 in the Europa League, with the pair each highly influential both in open play and from set-pieces.

Tavernier makes a long list of English right-backs who remain uncapped at international level due to the incredible competition in Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad, and former Rangers captain Lorenzo Amoruso tells Stats Perform: "I showcased him in Italy, but nobody cared because, of course, it happened to me, too: the best player in Scotland, thanks to some unbelievable performances, but never a call for the national team.

"I think I deserved it – at least as a reward or out of curiosity. This Amoruso, as a defender, becomes the best player in Scotland... it is not something that happens every day. The same applies to Tavernier."

Yet even Alexander-Arnold has only turned out 16 times for England, clearly behind Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and now Reece James in the pecking order.

The explanations for Alexander-Arnold's limited opportunities often focus on his defensive shortcomings – the same attributes for which Tavernier has come under scrutiny.

However, neither have committed an error leading to a shot, let alone a goal, in the Champions League or Europa League this season, and Tavernier actually measures favourably next to Alexander-Arnold by several defensive metrics.

Alexander-Arnold has made 1.9 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per 90 minutes to Tavernier's 1.6 tackles and 1.2 interceptions, but the Liverpool man has been dribbled past every 54 minutes on average and won only 48.2 per cent of his duels. Tavernier has been dribbled past every 150 minutes and won 56.3 per cent of his duels.

Those numbers will perhaps regress a little next season if Tavernier is playing in the Champions League, but he has to get there first by beating Frankfurt. And Rangers will likely be more concerned by their right-back's attacking output on Wednesday than his work going the other way.

None of us truly know where this life is going to take us, and what highs and lows we will experience along the way.

That is especially true for anyone associated with Rangers Football Club if you had told them after the 2008 UEFA Cup final they would next reach another European showpiece 14 years later.

As the Gers players trudged off the field at the Etihad Stadium having been thoroughly outplayed by Zenit, the disappointment was tempered with a belief that at least this was a team that had made a final and may have been on the way to more.

It took nearly a decade and a half, but on Wednesday they find themselves heading to Spain to line up opposite Eintracht Frankfurt to contest the Europa League final.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at how Rangers got from Manchester to Seville, with one of the bumpiest rides football has ever seen.

A night to forget in Manchester

Under the guidance of legendary manager Walter Smith in 2007-08, Rangers were looking to overthrow rivals Celtic in the league, having been bested by the Hoops the previous two seasons.

It was no good as Celtic made it a third Scottish title in a row, beating Rangers by three points, but there was a silver lining for the blue half of Glasgow.

Having finished third in their Champions League group behind Barcelona and Lyon, Rangers found themselves in the UEFA Cup.

They overcame Panathinaikos on away goals first up, before beating Werder Bremen 2-0 at Ibrox in first leg of the last 16, one of only two wins they actually managed in their entire run.

After getting past Sporting Lisbon in the quarter-finals, a penalty shoot-out success after 210 goalless minutes against Fiorentina sent Smith's side to the final.

However, it was a step too far for Rangers as they succumbed to defeat in Manchester, losing 2-0 to a Zenit team containing Andrei Arshavin and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, and managed by former Gers boss Dick Advocaat.

It was a blow but Rangers went on to win the next three Scottish titles until things began to unravel in the 2011-12 season, with poor form and a points deduction for financial issues seeing Celtic take the crown back.

That was far from the worst thing that happened to the club that year, though.

The fall and rise of Rangers

The financial issues were worse than first feared. Owing significant money to HM Revenue and Customs, The Rangers Football Club plc entered liquidation on 31 October 2012.

The club was forced to reform under the new ownership of Charles Green and a vote from other member clubs of the Scottish Football League meant Rangers were forced to begin again at the bottom, in the third division.

Although they had to sell most of their players to raise money and because few fancied playing in Scotland's fourth tier, Rangers still boasted by far the strongest squad in the third division, while manager Ally McCoist had also stayed on to try and take them back to the top.

They unsurprisingly won the league by 24 points in their first season, and had even fewer problems in the second division, now called League One, going unbeaten and drawing only three of their 36 games, securing 102 points and promotion at the first time of asking again.

The Championship was a different prospect altogether, though, as Rangers found themselves in with both Hibernian and Hearts. The two Edinburgh clubs ultimately finished above them, though Rangers beat both Queen of the South and Hibs in the playoffs, before losing to Motherwell in the final, meaning they would have to try again.

Stuart McCall was in charge by that point, and the former Scotland midfielder was able to get the job done in 2015-16, finishing 11 points ahead of second-placed Falkirk.

For the first time in four years, Rangers were back at the top table in Scotland, but this was always going to be the biggest leap. Their first Old Firm derby back in the top flight ended in a 5-1 drubbing by Celtic.

During the winter break, Rangers had played RB Leipzig in a friendly, losing 4-0 to the German side, which was perhaps a prophetic sign of how far they would need to rise to get back to where they felt they belonged.

Rangers finished third in their first two seasons back in the Premiership and decided to bring in a big name to try and force their way into the title picture. Steven Gerrard.

The former Liverpool star was new to management but was able to secure second place in 2018-19, though also back in Europe, Rangers were unable to get out of the Europa League group stage.

They made it to the round of 16 the following season before going out to Bayer Leverkusen, and despite putting up more of a fight in the league, a wobble in the second half of the campaign saw Celtic claim their ninth consecutive title.

Rangers fans everywhere wanted Gerrard to do everything he could to stop their great rivals from making it 10 in a row, and despite none of them being able to witness it thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Gerrard and his players did just that.

They had done it emphatically as well, going undefeated and collecting 102 points to win the Premiership, averaging 2.42 goals for per game, and just 0.34 goals against across their 38 league matches.

Full circle

It felt like Rangers were ready to take the next step, and many assumed that was by getting back into the group stage of the Champions League in 2021-22.

However, those plans were scuppered as they were beaten home and away by Malmo in qualifying, so back to the Europa League it was.

After losing their first two group games to Lyon and Sparta Prague without scoring, few will have had any hopes about making it to the knockout round playoffs, let alone where they ended up.

Home wins against Brondby and Sparta as well as away draws with Brondby and Lyon saw them advance a point ahead of the Czech side, though they were given a daunting tie against Borussia Dortmund.

On top of that, Gerrard had left for Aston Villa in November, with former player Giovanni van Bronckhorst taking over.

A stunning effort in Signal Iduna Park saw them win 4-2, before completing the job with a 2-2 draw back at Ibrox.

Hard-fought aggregate victories against Red Star Belgrade and Braga sent them to the semi-finals, and a date with more Bundesliga opposition, the very same they had lost convincingly to in that 2017 friendly.

Leipzig will have been wondering how they only won 1-0 at Red Bull Arena in the first leg, but Ibrox was a different matter, with a raucous crowd again cheering Rangers to a famous 3-1 win, and their first European final since 2008.

The second leg came nine years and one day after beating Berwick Rangers 1-0 at Ibrox in their final game in the third division.

It has been quite a ride since Manchester in 2008. Whatever happens in Seville, it is not always about the destination. It's about the journey.

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner assured Evan Ndicka had not suffered an injury that would keep him out of the Europa League final after the defender hobbled off on Saturday.

Frankfurt's focus turns towards Wednesday's showpiece against Rangers in Seville after their Bundesliga campaign concluded with a 2-2 draw against Mainz.

But there was momentary concern during the final match of the league season as Ndicka had to be substituted.

Ndicka, who has been linked to both Manchester United and Newcastle United, will have a key role to play if Frankfurt are to beat Rangers to the trophy.

And Glasner had positive news on the 22-year-old's condition afterwards, saying: "It's nothing bad – he has blisters on his feet. Everyone came out well."

The coach confirmed all his players were "fit" following the match – including, perhaps, midfielder Jesper Lindstrom, who has not played since the European semi-final first leg against West Ham due to a hamstring injury.

"He looks pretty good," Glasner said. "Everything is going according to plan."

However, he wants to see Lindstrom on the training pitch in the coming days if the Denmark international is to play any part in midweek.

"Only from the couch and from the massage table, it is not possible," Glasner added.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst hopes to buck history when Rangers face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final, as he aims to become just the second manager to win a European trophy at the club.

The Dutchman will lead the Scottish Premier League giants in Seville next Wednesday against their Bundesliga rivals as the famous Glasgow club bid for only a second continental trophy.

Rangers were beaten by Zenit in the UEFA Cup final in Manchester 14 years ago

Their only previous taste of European glory came in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final, which they won under Willie Waddell with a defeat of Dynamo Moscow in Barcelona.

Half a century on, Van Bronckhorst could repeat the feat with a triumph in Spain, and the Rangers boss is desperate to lift the trophy.

"It means a lot," he told a press conference. "There aren't many managers in the history of this club who played a European final.

"There's only one who actually won it. For the club, it would be fantastic to win a second prize in Europe."

Referring to the lack of European success for Scottish clubs, the Dutchman added: "It's not often you play finals, it's not often you play finals in Europe as a Scottish team.

"It's very rare that it happens. We're really honoured and proud that we are in the final in Seville, and can enjoy this occasion with many fans all around the world.

"We're representing this beautiful club, we're representing Scotland, so we have to make sure we give a good impression, and that's what we want to do."

Touching on his side's impressive exploits in beating RB Leipzig to reach the final, Van Bronckhorst says the memory will live him with a long time, while stressing the job is not yet done.

"The Leipzig game was one of the best nights I've experienced as a player and a manager," he added. "But it is very important that we keep going.

"The last two games we've played, against Dundee United and Ross County, we didn't relax because we need the same intensity, the same desire to play against Frankfurt.

"I don't want my players to slip up. Saturday [when Rangers play Hearts] is a bit different, because we're going to change some players, but I think we're ready for the final. That's all that matters now."

The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool will be refereed by Clement Turpin, UEFA has announced.

Liverpool overcame Villarreal in the semi-finals, while Madrid edged past Manchester City in dramatic fashion to reach the showpiece of UEFA's flagship club competition in Paris on May 28.

Turpin, who has been an international referee since 2010, will officiate his first Champions League final.

The Frenchman previously served as fourth official in the 2018 showpiece in Kyiv, where Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1.

Turpin, who refereed last season's Europa League final in which Villarreal defeated Manchester United on penalties, will be joined by compatriots Nicolas Danos and Cyril Gringore as his assistants.

Continuing with the French theme, Benoit Bastien will be fourth official and Jerome Brisard will lead the VAR team, which also includes Frenchman Willy Delajod and two Italians, Massimiliano Irrati and Filippo Meli.

In the Europa League final between Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18, Slovenian Slavko Vincic will be the man in the middle with compatriots Tomaz Klancnik and Andraz Kovacic on the line.

Meanwhile, Romanian Istvan Kovacs will take charge of his first UEFA club competition final when he officiates the Europa Conference League final, which sees Roma face Feyenoord at Arena Kombtare in Albania on May 25.

Kovacs will be joined by fellow countrymen Vasile Florin Marinescu and Mihai-Ovidiu Artene.

An overjoyed Oliver Glasner praised his side's ability to withstand a resilient West Ham, as Eintracht Frankfurt qualified for the Europa League final on Thursday.

Carrying a slender 2-1 lead on aggregate into Thursday's second leg, Eintracht gave themselves critical breathing room with Rafael Borre's 26th-minute goal, eventually winning 1-0 on the night and going through 3-1 over the tie.

Even with West Ham needing to chase the game, Aaron Cresswell's first-half dismissal meant Eintracht had the majority of possession, yet they still gave up higher-quality chances. A 10-man West Ham actually generated a higher xG of 1.62 in comparison to the hosts' 1.13 over the 90 minutes.

Nevertheless, Glasner was proud of his team's defensive effort.

“Slowly something is falling into place," he said post-match. "What the team did again was unbelievable. West Ham threw everything in the balance of the game.

"It was a difficult early phase and with West Ham facing elimination we played really well and scored a great goal. In the second half we defended the long balls and set pieces with everything we had.

"We said to the players: 'I don't know if you are the best players or if we are the best coaches. But we are exceptional as a group and together we can be the best.' It was a wonderful evening."

With the win, Eintracht secured their first European final in 42 years, when they won the UEFA Cup in the 1979-80.

Despite a fiercely contested game which saw eight yellow cards and two red cards, including the dismissal of West Ham boss David Moyes, the final whistle saw fans at the Deutsche Bank Park flood the pitch in jubilant scenes.

Following the match, Glasner did not hide or play down the gravity of the occasion or what awaits in Seville.

"It's the best thing when you can make so many people happy," he said. "There is always tension in the game.

"I saw yesterday that you can lead 1-0 in the 90th minute and then be 2-1 behind two minutes later. If that can happen to Manchester City, it can happen anywhere, anytime. After that, this recognition is wonderful after the final whistle. It's an evening you'll never forget.

“I said in the dressing room that I don’t even know what to say before [Borussia Monchengladbach] in three days. For us, it’s all about this final.”

David Moyes apologised for losing his cool with a ball boy after he was sent off as West Ham missed out on a place in the Europa League final.

Manager Moyes was ordered to the stands late on for kicking a ball thrown by the ball boy as West Ham lost 1-0 on the night to Eintracht Frankfurt and 3-1 on aggregate.

"I kicked a ball back at the ballboy, so I apologise for that, he threw the ball very softly at me," Moyes said on BT Sport.

Television footage of the incident showed an angry Moyes lashing out.

Moyes' team were forced to play most of the match with a numerical disadvantage after Aaron Cresswell's 18th-minute sending off made him the first Englishman to receive a red card in a European semi-final since John Terry for Chelsea against Barcelona in the 2011-12 Champions League.

 

According to Moyes, West Ham have faced better teams than Oliver Glasner's Frankfurt on their European run, but Rafael Borre's first-half goal condemned the Premier League side to a semi-final exit.

Cresswell also became the first English player to be dismissed twice in the same edition of a major European competition, having also seen red in a quarter-final draw against Lyon.

While Moyes said sorry for his own actions, he was unhappy with the decision to dismiss Cresswell, and suggested West Ham's previous knockout opponents Lyon and Sevilla were stronger than Frankfurt.

"[We have] lots of complaints," Moyes told BT Sport after the defeat. "We've enjoyed being in the competition. I don't know if we've enjoyed the officiating, but we have enjoyed the competition. I just feel disappointment, because I think this was a chance. I think we probably played better teams than Frankfurt.

"To be honest, we probably lost the game in the first 30 seconds at the London Stadium, where we conceded a goal [scored by Ansgar Knauff] and we've been chasing the game ever since."

He added, on West Ham TV: "We had a sending-off tonight and I think over the two games, for some reason, a lot of things haven't gone our way.

"But maybe we have to learn a little bit more about officiating in Europe and different things. We've now had two sendings-off in games – one in the quarter-final as well, when we had to play 45 minutes with 10 men.

"Tonight, we had to play the best part of 75 minutes with 10, so the players are brilliant. How they've worked and their resilience to keep going… and actually, I thought they tried to take the game to Frankfurt and had chances."

West Ham travel to relegated Norwich City in the Premier League on Sunday as they aim to secure a top-seven finish.

While West Ham missed the opportunity to reach a first major European final since they lost to Anderlecht in the 1975-76 Cup Winners' Cup trophy match, Frankfurt have now reached their third such occasion, having been European Cup runners-up in 1959-60 and UEFA Cup winners in 1979-80.

Glasner's men will face Rangers in the final in Seville later this month after the Scottish outfit overcame RB Leipzig 3-2 on aggregate.

John Lundstram saluted his "best night by a country mile" after firing Rangers to the Europa League final after their dramatic victory over RB Leipzig on Thursday.

The midfielder was the hero as he struck the winner 10 minutes from time for Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side, who prevailed 3-2 on aggregate at Ibrox.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, first-half goals from James Tavernier and Glen Kamara turned the tie on its head, before Christopher Nkunku squared proceedings with 20 minutes remaining.

But there was to be one late twist as Lundstram sent Ibrox into ecstasy, with his goal setting up a showdown with Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18.

"I can't put it into words," he told BT Sport. "I came in with a good feeling, but to actually go out and do it, I can't put it into words.

"We've been through so many ups and downs this season but to come through it and reach a Europa League final, wow!

"It's my best night by a country mile."

Lundstram also paid tribute to Rangers' much-loved kit man Jimmy Bell, who died on Wednesday at the age of 69.

"Words can’t describe how much Jimmy meant to everyone," the midfielder added. "He was the bedrock of the team. 

"I want to dedicate the goal tonight to him, I love him to bits."

Skipper Tavernier added: "It's unbelievable. A European final; it's what you dream of.

"We'll go there [Seville] full of confidence. Frankfurt got there for a reason, but it's one game and we'll fully back ourselves. 

"We're in this to win it. We want to make all the fans proud."

Meanwhile, Van Bronckhorst was delighted with the efforts of his players, and has urged them to grasp their opportunity in the final.

"It's very hard to find the words. It's been an amazing night," the head coach said.

"We said before the game we'd do everything possible. The players were fantastic. You can't write a script better than this. We're all very proud.

"Not many players can play European finals. It's not for every player. Once we're there, we need to do everything to win it. It's remarkable."

John Lundstram's late strike saw Rangers through to the Europa League final as they roared back at Ibrox to beat RB Leipzig 3-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, first-half goals from James Tavernier and Glen Kamara turned the tie in favour of Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side.

Leipzig, who were seeking their first European final appearance, levelled on aggregate when Christopher Nkunku neatly volleyed home in the 70th minute.

However, Lundstram popped up 10 minutes from time to snatch a dramatic winner for the hosts, who will play Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18.

Aiming to become only the fifth side to overturn a first-leg semi-final defeat and progress to the Europa League showpiece, Rangers levelled the tie in the 18th minute.

Kamara released Ryan Kent down the flank and the winger drilled the ball across the face of goal, with Tavernier applying the finishing touch at the far post.

The hosts turned the tie on its head just six minutes later, with Scott Wright teeing up Kamara, who brilliantly stroked the ball into the far corner from 20 yards.

Joe Aribo squandered a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0 on the night soon after, failing to turn home from six yards after Tavernier cushioned Borna Barisic's deep cross into his path.

Leipzig grew into the contest during the second half and levelled the tie with 19 minutes remaining. Moments after Allan McGregor did brilliantly to deny Konrad Laimer, Nkunku drifted to the near post to volley home from Angelino's centre.

Yet Rangers sealed their progress to Seville after a winner 10 minutes from time, Lundstram reacting quickest to finish after Kent's deep cross was headed off the line by Josko Gvardiol.

Eintracht Frankfurt clinched a place in the Europa League final and ended West Ham's dream run as Rafael Borre netted in a 1-0 win over the 10-man visitors.

David Moyes' team had Aaron Cresswell sent off for preventing a clear goalscoring chance early on, before Borre put Oliver Glasner's hosts in front with a neat finish after 26 minutes.

West Ham struggled to create clear-cut chances despite putting in a spirited performance, as their strong European run came to a disappointing end with a 3-1 aggregate defeat.

Despite sitting 11th in the Bundesliga, Frankfurt could end the campaign by securing a major European trophy and a spot in next season's Champions League by winning the May 18 final in Seville.

After a scrappy start, West Ham were dealt a huge blow when Cresswell hauled Jens Hauge down on the edge of the area 18 minutes in, with the VAR advising referee Jesus Manzano to send off the left-back before Filip Kostic drove the resulting free-kick wide.

The hosts needed less than 10 minutes to make their numerical advantage count, as Borre swept a side-footed finish into the bottom-left corner after meeting Ansgar Knauff's cut-back.

The Hammers struggled to assert themselves in a boisterous atmosphere, but almost found a surprise equaliser when Evan Ndicka cleared off the line after Jarrod Bowen's free-kick struck Kurt Zouma at the back post.

Borre hit a left-footed volley into Alphonse Areola's arms immediately after the break, before Craig Dawson headed Michail Antonio's cross straight at Kevin Trapp after an hour.

Moyes was sent off for a touchline outburst as West Ham's European dream slipped away, before Tomas Soucek missed a glaring headed chance in the final minute as the hosts cruised into the final.

What does it mean? Frankfurt build on first-leg triumph for historic semi-final win

Frankfurt's victory saw them reach their first European final since the 1980 UEFA Cup, when they beat Borussia Monchengladbach on away goals after a two-legged 3-3 aggregate draw.

With the win, Glasner's men have also become the first German team to reach finals in both the Europa League and UEFA Cup.

Hammers left deflated after Cresswell red

West Ham's hopes of reaching their first major European final since the 1975-76 Cup Winners' Cup were dealt a monumental blow when Cresswell became the first English player to ever receive two red cards in a single season in a European competition.

Cresswell was also sent off against Lyon in the last round, and is the first English player to be shown red in a European semi-final since Chelsea's John Terry in 2012 (against Barcelona in the Champions League).

Borre continues continental run

As well as recording seven goals and four assists in the Bundesliga this season, Borre has been in inspired form in Frankfurt's Europa League knockout games.

His composed finish means he has either scored (two) or assisted (one) three of Frankfurt's last five Europa League goals.

What's next? 

Frankfurt host Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Sunday, while West Ham must turn their attentions back to securing European football for next season when they travel to Norwich City in the Premier League on the same day.

German police arrested more than 30 fans after fighting broke out on the eve of Eintracht Frankfurt's Europa League semi-final second leg against West Ham.

Frankfurt am Main police said two West Ham supporters had been knocked unconscious and were taken to hospital after being attacked by apparent Eintracht fans.

That incident occurred early on Wednesday evening in the Schulstrasse area of the city centre, ahead of Thursday's match.

A police statement issued on Thursday confirmed: "Here, a group of violent home fans attacked a group of away fans, knocking two of them unconscious. Both men were taken to a hospital with injuries and had to be hospitalised."

The police reported "a larger group of violent criminals", who were thought to be Eintracht supporters, targeted West Ham fans later in the evening on Taubenstrasse, with that baseball bat attack causing damage at a restaurant and leading to a bar worker suffering "minor injuries".

The police added: "In the evening hours, the crowd of English fans was concentrated on Munchener Strasse. An estimated 800 guest fans were to be found here, including around 150 risk fans. Due to the accumulation, Munchner Strasse had to be closed to both road and rail traffic. Large processions of WHU [West Ham United] supporters formed twice in the evening and at night on Munchener Strasse to march through the station district. The police prevented this both times with timely and consistent intervention.

"At around 11:30pm, supporters of both camps sought an argument on Gutleutstrasse. The emergency services also stopped the imminent confrontation here. The police arrested 15 violent supporters of the home team."

Police reported the trouble began to abate afterwards, and the street was reopened to traffic. "In total, the police arrested more than 30 people yesterday," they said.

West Ham manager David Moyes declared his side needs Declan Rice "to drive us on" if they are to come back from a 2-1 deficit against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final.

The first leg, played at London Stadium, got off to the worst possible start as the visitors scored inside the opening minute, with Michail Antonio replying in the first half before Daichi Kamada scored the Frankfurt winner after 54 minutes.

Whichever team advances to the final will meet the winner of RB Leipzig and Rangers.

Rice has been the driving force behind West Ham's season and has become one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League. Now, Moyes wants the 23-year-old to push the Hammers into a first major European final since 1976.

"I say to Declan Rice every week 'you have to drive them on, every day in training – the levels and standards have to be taken higher'," Moyes told a news conference.

"Every day you have to drive them on, the levels. He has the chance to work with some of the best players in the country when he goes away with England – Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, you name it – and he has to bring that back to our camp and demand it from the other boys.

Rice has, quite literally, played a key role in progressing West Ham to this huge tie, having made 182 ball carries in the Europa League this season, second only to Barcelona's Eric Garcia (191).

The total distance of Rice's carries amounts to 2,083 metres, more than 400 metres more than any other central midfield player this campaign. Moyes did stress, though, that it is important not to put the onus all on one talismanic player.

"We also mustn't put too much on Dec’s shoulders! I’m the one who's said it because he's such a quality player and he's got tremendous abilities," Moyes continued.

"I challenge him a lot, but we need to get a whole team performance and everybody needs to perform well. 

"We need Dec to drive us on, but we need him to play with a really steady, experienced head for somebody who's young."

Moyes' second spell in charge has seen West Ham transform from relegation candidates to being on the brink of a European final in the space of two years.

"Our climb over the last two years has probably been faster [than we'd expect] and sometimes you have to come down a little bit to go again – but hopefully, we continue to build and grow, and that’s what I'm trying to drive home," Moyes added.

"The biggest thing I've seen is the mentality change in the players here – it's incredible. The demand really is that we try and improve, and I put it on them.

"They need to be the ones who do it as well. The manager is always the one who gets found out if it happens or not, but sometimes the players need to be the ones who roll their sleeves up and not accept anything other than the best."

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner believes the "whole of Germany" will be behind them as they bid to reach the Europa League final.

Glasner's side hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg of their semi-final with West Ham and will look to finish the job on home soil.

Eintracht won the trophy under its UEFA Cup guise back in 1980, their only other major European final coming in 1960 when they lost the European Cup showpiece to Real Madrid.

Their run to this stage has already included a stunning victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou, with Glasner hopeful their home support can get them over the line against West Ham.

"We'll play to win from the get-go with our fans behind us," Glasner told a news conference.

"Our strategy must involve causing problems to the opposition defence. We need an even better performance than the first leg.

"I get the feeling that the whole of Germany are Eintracht fans in Europe. There's recognition for our performances, but it's not about living in the past – we need to stay focused.

"We expect a West Ham team that will try everything to win and reach the final. I told my players that our focus is to play to win.

"The order is clear: to play forward and to put the West Ham defence to the test."

They reached the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2018-19, losing to another London club – Chelsea – on that occasion.

In their history as a professional club, Eintracht have only lost one semi-final match when playing at home (P12 W9 D2), losing 0-3 to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the DFB-Pokal in 1992-93.

History is on Eintracht's side heading into Thursday's contest with the Hammers, as the last team to progress from a Europa League semi-final after losing the first leg was Liverpool in 2016.

West Ham have identified two offenders responsible for the alleged attack on two German commentators during Thursday's Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The alleged incident at the London Stadium is said to have taken place after Michail Antonio had equalised 21 minutes into the semi-final first-leg tie.

German outlet Bild reported during the match that the commentators, who were working for ARD, had their headsets ripped off and were punched several times.

West Ham believe they have found those responsible and have threatened the pair with lifetime bans if found guilty.

"In line with our zero-tolerance approach, the offenders' details have been passed onto the police, who will now conduct their own investigation," a West Ham spokesperson said.

"If the offenders are found guilty, they will be given an indefinite ban and not be permitted to enter London Stadium, nor travel with the club. 

"Behaviour of this kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at West Ham United."

Frankfurt won the game 2-1 in London thanks to goals from Ansgar Knauff and Daichi Kamada either side of Antonio's close-range finish.

The return leg takes place at Deutsche Bank Park next Thursday, with the winners to face either RB Leipzig or Rangers in next month's final in Seville.

 

West Ham are investigating allegations that two German commentators were attacked by supporters during Thursday's Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt.

German outlet Bild reported during the match that the commentators, who were working for ARD, had their headsets ripped off and were punched several times.

The alleged incident at the London Stadium is said to have taken place after Michail Antonio scored in the 21st minute to cancel out Ansgar Knauff's early opener.

A West Ham statement on Friday read: "The club is aware of the incident and will be working to identify the offender. 

"In line with our zero-tolerance approach, anyone identified will have their details passed to the police.

"They will be given an indefinite ban and be unable to enter London Stadium and travel with the club. There is no place for this kind of behaviour."

German journalist Philipp Hofmeister, one of those reported to have been targeted, tweeted after the match: "We are doing okay. 

"Best wishes to all West Ham supporters who love football and respect their opponents."

Frankfurt went on to win the game 2-1 thanks to Daichi Kamada's 54th-minute tap-in. The return leg takes place at Deutsche Bank Park next Thursday.

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