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Sports

Frankfurt hammer Bordeaux in Europa League opener

Eintracht Frankfurt have started their European campaign in style, beating Bordeaux 3-0 in front of a packed house in Hesse. Replacement left-back Constant Djakpa stole the show, along with in-form striker Vaclav Kadlec.

Frankfurt opened the scoring within four minutes against visitors Bordeaux and never looked back, going on to claim a comfortable home win in their first Europa League group stage game.

Czech striker Vaclav Kadlec finished from close in to follow his weekend brace in the Bundesliga. Replays suggested the goal was marginally offside. The early opener also took the wind out of Bordeaux's sails.

Tranquilo Barnetta, who played a rare 90 minutes after years battling injury, missed a sitter in the 13th minute, knocking a Takashi Inui cross just wide from close in.

Bordeaux looked disorganized against Frankfurt's frequent crosses, and the second goal fell following another delivery from the left - this time played in by Barnetta. Marco Russ, standing in for holding midfielder Pirim Schwegler, finished from close in to give the home side an early cushion.

Constant Djakpa (3-L) of Frankfurt scores the 3-0 during the UEFA Europa League Group F first leg soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Girondins Bordeaux at Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany, 19. September 2013. Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa

Djakpa's set piece was a real peach

Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp had some first-half work to do, not least denying striker Jussie shortly after Russ' goal.

Stand-in Djakpa stands out

Early in the second half, Constant Djakpa put an already one-sided match to bed with an impudent set piece. Djakpa, replacing injured regular Bastian Oczipka at left-back, curled a gentle shot into the opposite corner - playing away from the wall, not over it - from just outside the box. His placed shot appeared to wrong-foot Bordeaux's captain and keeper Cedric Carrasso.

Ten minutes later, Bordeaux's central defender Lucas Orban rounded out their nightmare in Hesse, earning himself a straight red card for a professional foul on Stefan Aigner.

Frankfurt were then able to shut up shop and turn their eyes towards Sunday's Bundesliga match away to Stuttgart. Coach Armin Veh subbed out key players Inui, Kadlec and Sebastian Rode in the course of the second half. Rode hobbled off the pitch clutching his knee, with a possible injury to the midfield maestro perhaps the only black mark on Frankfurt's evening.

Freiburg throw it away

Freiburg's return to European competition after more than a decade away was a winnable match on paper against Czech side Slovan Liberec. For around an hour, the German hosts dominated the game - before conceding two extremely soft goals in seven minutes.

Freiburg's Julian Schuster (3-R) celebrates with Mike Hanke (L-R), Pavel Krmas and Admir Mehmedi after scoring the 1-0 during the UEFA Europa League Group H first leg soccer match between SC Freiburg and Slovan Liberec FC at Mage Solar Stadium Stadium in Freiburg, Germany, 19. September 2013. At the right side stand Renato Kulic from Liberec. (Photo: Patrick Seeger/dpa)

It all started so brightly for off-form Freiburg

Captain Julian Schuster had opened the scoring from the penalty spot and Swiss summer signing Admir Mehmedi doubled Freiburg's lead with a splendid solo strike in the 35th minute.

In complete control against a weak opponent, Freiburg then granted their guests a lifeline with around 25 minutes to play. Vladyslav Kalitvintsev hit a tame long range shot straight at Oliver Baumann. The German goalie fumbled the shot and then had to forlornly pick the weak effort out of his net.

Seven minutes later, Mehmedi went from hero to villain, playing a catastrophic backpass towards Baumann. Instead of finding his keeper, Mehmedi played in Liberec striker Michael Rabusic, who gratefully accepted the unlikely assist. Freiburg's fans were sympathetic, cheering the 22-year-old when he was subbed off late in the game.

Coach Christian Streich expressed his disappointment with the result, but said it was not a surprise, considering that "in effect, we scored two own goals."

As if to pile on the misery in the latter third of the game, substitute Karim Guede managed to get himself sent off in less than 15 minutes on the pitch - picking up a pair of yellow cards with haste. The game ended 10 versus 10 as Liberec scorer Rybalka picked up his second yellow in stoppage time.

Freiburg have had a difficult start to the Bundesliga season, having failed to any of their first five league games for the first time in club history. A win on Thursday might have given the side a shot in the arm ahead of Sunday's home game against Hertha Berlin, a team Streich described as "very well-staffed" after the draw with Liberec.