UEFA Europa League: Eintracht Frankfurt’s Ajdin Hrustic says beating Barcelona should not be deemed an upset

Eintracht Frankfurt are in Catalonia on Thursday as they try to construct on their 1-1 opening leg draw with Barcelona of their UEFA Europa League quarterfinal tie (3 p.m. ET | Paramount+). Ansgar Knauff spectacularly gave the Germans the lead at Deutsche Financial institution Park final week just for Ferran Torres to equalize earlier than Tuta’s purple card for 2 bookings meant that the hosts completed with 10 males.

Australia worldwide Ajdin Hrustic didn’t see minutes within the dwelling leg however bought a run out towards the top of a 2-1 loss at dwelling to SC Freiburg over the weekend and hopes to construct on it in Spain.

“To begin with, it’s 50-50 after we drew 1-1 at dwelling,” Hrustic instructed CBS Sports activities solely. “I believe we deserved much more, to be sincere. We had an opportunity or two that we should always have possibly taken within the first half. Usually, it was an awesome group efficiency. We’re going into the second sport fairly positively with a very good feeling.”

Eintracht have their work minimize out for them forward of the return leg provided that Xavi is presently overseeing a Barca revival at Camp Nou, however Knauff’s spectacular strike towards the Catalans and the explosion of pleasure from the Frankfurt followers won’t be forgotten in a rush.

“Once I noticed the second ball coming to Ansgar, I hoped he was going to shoot and never take a contact or look to play it out vast,” admitted Hrustic. “He took the prospect nicely and tucked it into the highest nook — unstoppable. The boys have most likely skilled it a bit extra up to now than I’ve, however for positive it was an enormous second. You get goosebumps on the market on the pitch and particularly at our dwelling stadium.”

Regardless of their underdog tag towards a Barca facet reborn for the reason that opening half of the season which noticed them drop into the Europa League from the Champions League, the previous Groningen man doesn’t assume that any potential success for Die Adler ought to be painted as a large killing.

“I might not say it could be a shock as it’s 50-50 and something might occur now,” he mentioned. “Once I take into consideration the membership, the boys within the dressing room and the way we’re as a group, it reveals how we stick collectively. Our character and mentality are what makes us particular. I believe it’s attainable.”

Hrustic, who faces a giant finish to the season with the Socceroos as they aim FIFA World Cup qualification through the playoffs this summer time, pointed to skilled teammates equivalent to ex-Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper and captain Kevin Trapp as they intention to dump out the Balugrana.

“We now have our teaching employees, but in addition Kevin who leads each sport, Sebastian Rode and Timothy Chandler — a couple of massive names and many European expertise,” the 25-year-old instructed CBS Sports activities. “Makoto Hasebe and Danny da Costa too, so it’s a good mixture of youth and expertise.”

Featured Recreation | Barcelona vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Coach Oliver Glasner additionally has a task to play as his man administration forward of the opening leg bought the gamers pumped as much as carry out nicely sufficient to return out of the sport feeling like they need to have completed higher than draw.

“Ours is a supervisor who may be very winning-minded,” mentioned Hrustic of the Austrian. “He desires to succeed, and he can pump us up for the sport as he did forward of the primary leg with Barca. He bought us to imagine that there can be possibilities and if you happen to take a look at how the boys got here out onto the pitch, that confirmed.”

Regardless of his confidence within the squad’s potential to return away with a semifinal berth secured, Hrustic admits that European qualification through the Bundesliga remains to be very a lot a goal and that advancing previous Barca can be a big achievement.

“We’re combating within the Bundesliga too and doing fairly nicely,” he mentioned. “I believe that each membership will get an opportunity to go so far as attainable as soon as they’re within the Europa League and everybody desires to succeed as a lot as attainable. Clearly, it’s one thing massive.”

Lastly, Hrustic is in little question that Eintracht want common continental motion transferring ahead and hopes that this season’s run generally is a springboard to common involvement whether or not within the Europa League or higher.

“If I’m sincere, sure,” mentioned the person from Dandenong as a ending word. “We do want it and the membership has massive ambitions. I actually imagine that we are able to and ought to be enjoying European soccer every year and yearly.”

You may comply with Hrustic and Frankfurt’s second leg with Barcelona on Paramount+.