The victory against Olympiacos FC three weeks ago in the UEFA Europa League means Eintracht have already qualified for the knockout stages. The Eagles will now be confirmed as group winners with one game to spare if they manage another win against Antwerp – or if the other fixture in the group ends in a draw – which will send them straight through to the round of 16, avoiding the knockout play-offs.
The Hessians certainly don’t want to have to rely on help from others to secure their place in the last 16. Instead, they’ll be looking to reproduce the clinical streak that they’ve shown in Europe this season. The efficient Eagles have converted seven of their eight big chances so far in this group stage, which corresponds to an unrivalled rate of 88 per cent in the competition.
Slip-up in the league
Unlike Eintracht, Antwerp go into Thursday’s meeting on the back of a defeat at the weekend after losing 2-1 at 11th-placed Sint-Truidense VV in the Jupiler Pro League. The goal for Brian Piske side, who are second in the table, came from striker Mbwana Ally Samatta. The 28-year-old Tanzanian is Antwerp’s leading scorer in the Europa League, having scored two of the team’s three goals.
Paciencia and Hinteregger set to return
Goncalo Paciencia has also netted twice during the current competition. Head coach Oliver Glasner hinted last week that the Portuguese striker could return to the squad on Thursday, almost four weeks after suffering a muscle injury. Martin Hinteregger, who sat out Sunday’s match against Freiburg due to a minor knock, is also in line for a recall.
Kick-off: Thursday 25 November 2021 21:00 CET, Group D, Matchday 5.
Stadium: Frankfurt Stadion, Frankfurt am Main.