After 42 years, Eintracht Frankfurt wins an international title again. The Europa League final for football romantics reveals one thing: Eintracht has also arrived in Europe thanks to its fans.

It was midnight when RTL conducted the first interview with a newly crowned Europa League winner. Kevin Trapp, who saved Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties with a phenomenal save shortly before the end of extra time and saved Aaron Ramsey’s shot there, stepped in front of the microphone and immediately denied the statement that he was the hero of the evening. “I’m not the hero, the team is the hero, they are the heroes back there,” said Frankfurt’s support and pointed to the wide circle of the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in Seville. There were tens of thousands of Eintracht supporters, just like their team had given their all for 120 minutes and more At the same time, more than 50,000 fans in Frankfurt celebrated their team’s success at the public viewing in the Waldstadion, which is more than just a title in the showcase – the night in the Main metropolis was anything but quiet , although unfortunately not always peacefully.

The mood among the Frankfurt fans was not always peaceful anyway. Just a few years ago, the “Zeit” headline about the supporters of Eintracht: “The Ultras and the decline of a club”. Eintracht, a kind of elevator team for years, had a huge fan problem: the groups not only fought with the supporters of other clubs, but also threatened the officials and players of the club. In 2011, after a home defeat against Cologne, angry fans stormed the green in the Waldstadion and had to be pushed back by the police. The subsequent crash into the second division should be the starting signal for the new harmony. In 2012 Frankfurt returned to the top football league, under coach Niko Kovac the team continued to develop from 2015: DFB Cup victory against Bayern, Europa League semifinals against Chelsea, exciting games under Adi Hütter in the Bundesliga – Frankfurt played regularly into a frenzy and back into the hearts of the fans.

Eintracht Frankfurt’s Europa League success would hardly have been possible without the fans

Without wanting to belittle the performance of the players and those responsible in the club, it is also the development off the field that has helped the proud Frankfurt eagles to new heights. So high that the club legend Jürgen Grabowski, who only died in March, can perhaps touch it. It is questionable whether an attack like that at Camp Nou in Barcelona in the quarter-finals would have been possible without 30,000 supporters behind them.

In the second leg of the semifinals against West Ham United, the Waldstadion turned into a cauldron – and not just because of the early red card against West Ham’s Aaron Creswell: 48,000 fans could be heard so clearly over the outside microphones that commentators Marco Hagemann and Steffen Freund into theirs Microphones almost had to yell. In Seville, too, the supporters developed into a major support. Glasgow Rangers’ outnumbered supporters, notorious for their vocal support, could only be heard after the surprise opening goal. And otherwise? The stadium was firmly in Frankfurt hands: From the arrival of the teams with impressive choreography in the stands to the final whistle, the Frankfurt fans, dressed all in white, gave their all for their club. Their reward was the title and also the celebrations of the players, who immediately sought proximity to the fans with the trophy.

It is these emotions that can carry a team and push boundaries. The team’s emotions on the pitch are all the more refreshing: the fact that a goalkeeper doesn’t see himself or the team as heroes just a few minutes after the end of the game, but thinks directly of the fans, illustrates the supporters’ share in Frankfurt’s unbelievable run in the Europa League. The whole of Frankfurt presented itself as a loud unit – and the Champions League can look forward to a very special avalanche of atmosphere from southern Hesse in the coming season.