The coach of FC Barcelona, Xavi Hernández, and the club are still trying to understand how 30,000 Eintracht Frankfurt fans found themselves inside the Nou Camp ahead of the second leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final game.
On Thursday, April 14, 2022, German Bundesliga side, Eintracht Frankfurt traveled from Germany to Spain to take on Spanish giants FC Barcelona. Ahead of the second leg tie of the Europa League quarter-final game, most football pundits believed that coach Xavi Hernández and his boys would knock out Frankfurt from the competition.
Recall that the first leg of the tie ended in a 1-1 draw in Germany and FC Barcelona needed just a 1-0 win in the second leg to book a place in the semi-final stage of the competition.
Barca president Joan Laporta is ashamed, Xavi is yet to understand how 30,000 Eintracht Frankfurt fans got onto Nou Camp
Ahead of the second leg of the tie, Eintracht Frankfurt fans reportedly numbering over 30,000 were seen marching and singing to the Nou Camp. All the fans were able to gain entrance into the prestigious Nou Camp to show support for their team.
How they flew from Germany to Spain and how they all gained access to the stadium have not been made public at the time of publishing this report. But the aim of coming to Spain to support Frankfurt was achieved as the German side stunned Barca 3-2 at Nou Camp to knock out the Spanish team from the competition 4-3 on aggregate.
After the game, coach Xavi Hernández admitted that he was expecting 70,000 or 80,000 Barca fans at the stadium “but it wasn’t like that.”
“The club is checking what happened,” the Spanish tactician added.
While Barcelona president Joan Laporta said: “I can’t yet reach a proper conclusion. We’ve collected all the information from the security and ticketing departments.
“We are analyzing everything, but unfortunately all leads to a series of undesirable situations – something that would never have taken place.
“Once we’ve gathered all the necessary information we will implement measures and we will explain to them because tonight – as a Barca fan – I am ashamed of what happened.”
Xavi Hernández admits FC Barcelona lost the match on the pitch, not on the stands
Though Eintracht Frankfurt got homely support away from home that contributed to their victory over their hosts on Thursday, coach Xavi Hernández stressed that his players did not play well enough.
During the second leg tie, Frankfurt took the lead as early as the 4th minute of the game. Before the 67th minute, the German side had already scored three goals against Barca at Nou Camp.
The way the match was going annoyed Barca’s fans to the extent some of them left the stadium before the last quarter of the game.
It was until during stoppage time that Xavi Hernández and his team were able to break the defense of Frankfurt. The hosts scored two goals in the additional 10 minutes but were not able to equalize to take the game into extra time.
After the game, Xavi described his team’s performance as a big disappointment and a shame, noting that his players did not take advantage of their chances.
“This is a very big disappointment, a real shame because we wanted to win this competition but we have to congratulate Eintracht, they deserved to advance to the semis and we didn’t do well”, Xavi Hernández said. “We didn’t play as we have recently, that is why we’re out.
“We tried, but our problem was the football. We had possession but we didn’t take advantage of it, our mistake. It was a fateful night. We made many mistakes, their second goal comes from a turnover, the penalty was an error, and in the third goal, we are pressing one side of the pitch and allowing them to move to the other. It was something we talked about and cannot happen. We have to be self-critical, we didn’t do well and that’s why we’re out.
“Now we have to recover the players and continue to compete. We play Cádiz on Monday, the league is what’s left and we have to keep going. We cannot move away from the path we were on, we have to believe in what we’re doing. We have played great games, but losses are also part of football. If this is a failure, and I don’t want to use that word, we will learn more from our mistakes. This loss must make us believe in our ideas more, it’s a matter of time and patience.”
🎙 Xavi analyzes the team's outlook pic.twitter.com/EsEQtgKRbr— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 14, 2022
As it stands, Eintracht Frankfurt who last reached the semi-final stage of the Europa League in 2019 will play Premier League side, West Ham United in the semi-final stage of the competition.
West Ham knocked out French side, Lyon 4-1 on aggregate to book a date with Eintracht Frankfurt which are yet to lose a game in the competition this season.
The first leg of the tie will take place in London on April 28 while the second leg of the tie will take place in Germany on May 5, 2022.