Preview: Real Betis vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Preview: Real Betis vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Real Betis will lock horns with Eintracht Frankfurt at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 contest.

Both sides have struggled for form in recent weeks, with Betis failing to win any of their last four matches across all competitions, while Frankfurt have lost three of their last four games in the Bundesliga.

Aside from their recent run of form, losing and drawing two games each in their last four fixtures, Real Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini will be delighted with his team’s overall performance across all competitions this season.

Los Verdiblancos are currently fifth in La Liga and two points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, who beat them 3-1 last weekend, while they are still competing in the Europa League and have the Copa del Rey final against Valencia to look forward to at the end of April.

Betis head into Wednesday’s first leg having already faced German opposition this season, though their two Group G encounters with Bayer Leverkusen did not go as they would have hoped; a 1-1 draw on home soil in October was followed by a heavy 4-0 defeat at the BayArena a month later, their heaviest defeat of the season to date.

Pellegrini’s men managed to finish second in their group with 10 points, just three behind Leverkusen at the top, before beating Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 on aggregate in the playoff round; all five goals were scored in the first leg, with Guido Rodriguez, William Jose and Andres Guardado all on the scoresheet.

Betis will be looking to win their first match against German opposition since 1995-96 and end a run of five knockout games without a home win in European competition, when they face Frankfurt in midweek.

While Real Betis are fighting for Champions League qualification in La Liga, Eintracht Frankfurt are slipping out of contention for a Europa Conference League spot, having endured an inconsistent 2021-22 Bundesliga campaign.

The Eagles were able to bounce back from three successive defeats with a 4-1 victory away at Hertha Berlin last weekend; however, they are seven points behind the top six with nine games remaining, including five against teams currently positioned between third and seventh in the table.

Oliver Glasner’s side have struggled for consistency on the domestic front this term, but they have enjoyed a more positive spell in the Europa League. Frankfurt were one of only four teams – along with Lyon, Monaco and Galatasaray – who successfully completed this year’s group stage without suffering a single defeat, winning and drawing three games each and topping Group B ahead of Olympiacos, Fenerbahce and Royal Antwerp.

Frankfurt, who reached the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2018-19 before losing to eventual winners Chelsea, are unbeaten in their last three away games against Spanish opponents, most recently drawing 1-1 at Celta Vigo in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup group stage.

The Eagles will be confident of success against Betis over two legs, having progressed from five of their seven last-16 ties in Europe’s second most prestigious competition. They were, however, eliminated 4-0 on aggregate against Basel the last time they reached this stage in 2019-20, a result which will provide Betis with hope ahead of Wednesday’s fixture.

Real Betis Europa League form:
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Real Betis form (all competitions):
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Eintracht Frankfurt Europa League form:
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Eintracht Frankfurt form (all competitions):
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We say: Real Betis 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Real Betis will be motivated by the prospect of reaching the Europa League final in their home city this season, albeit at the stadium of their rivals Sevilla, but they come up against a Frankfurt side who know what it takes to reach the latter stages of this competition.

Both teams have suffered dips in form recently and although there is little to separate them, the hosts may just edge Wednesday’s contest and take a narrow lead into the second leg.

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