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Kostic and Frankfurt's fairy-tale run

Olivia Gerstenberger
May 16, 2022

Last summer Filip Kostic desperately wanted to leave Frankfurt. Now Eintracht's Serbian winger is set to face Glasgow Rangers in the Europa League final and once again, Kostic could be the difference maker.

Fußballspieler Filip Kostic von Eintracht Frankfurt
Filip Kostic has fired Frankfurt's Europa League hopes Image: Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto/IMAGO

It seemed as if he was a good as gone, and as a result there was a sense of shock among the Eintracht Frankfurt fans. Last summer Filip Kostic looked to be on his way to Serie A side Lazio – away from Germany and away from Eintracht. For several days this caused a good deal of turmoil at the club. In the end though, dissatisfied with the money offered by the Italian club, Eintracht refused to let him leave.

So Kostic stayed put and the Serbian international got down to the business of playing himself back into the hearts of the Eintracht faithful – especially with his performances in the Europa League. Never to be forgotten by the fans is his brace against Barcelona in the Camp Nou in the quarterfinals, a game he described as "the best game of my career." Now Eintracht are in the final.

Better than the legendary Uwe Bein

Filip Kostic is the heart of Frankfurt's game. He provides the impetus, hits pinpoint crosses, more than almost anyone else in the Bundesliga. He put the ball into the opponent's penalty area 188 times in the season just ended. His assists are already legendary, reminiscent of those of Frankfurt legend Uwe Bein, remembered as "the man for the deadly through ball." Last season, the left-footed Kostic assisted on 17 goals. And not even Bein ever managed that. 

 Kostic's sprints down the left flank are unpredictable, wild, and even thrilling. Defensively, he has also improved over the years. And yet he has never managed to win a title. On the contrary, he has twice been relegated; with Stuttgart in 2016 and Hamburg in 2018. Now, though, he could be on the verge of winning an international title.

Some Frankfurt fans arrived in Seville days ahead of Wednesday's contest, which will be their first European final since 1980. Tens of thousands are expected to be in southern Spain by kickoff and they will be joined by thousands more supporters of their opponents, Rangers.   

Frankfurt's journey to the final was as spectacular as Kostic's runs along the flank. The Germans advanced to the round-of-16 by finishing top of Group D with an undefeated record. Then they needed a goal in the last minute of extra time in the second leg to get past Betis, before sensationally dispatching Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Eintracht surprised West Ham by beating the Premier League side both home and away – and at every game, home and away, the Eagles were cheered on by thousands of fans. And their journey is not over yet.

Filip Kostic of Eintracht Frankfurt
Eintracht fans would dearly love to see Filip Kostic remain in Frankfurt for another seasonImage: Mutsu Kawamori/AFLOSPORT/IMAGO

Via Seville to the Champions League? 

However, it's far from certain that Kostic, whose contract runs through the end of next season, will still be in Frankfurt at the end of the summer. The Serbian, who will turn 30 in November, changed advisors after his failed move to Lazio and is now with Italian agency WSA. He has never made a secret of wanting to move to Serie A. Inter Milan is said to have already expressed interest, but his outstanding performance against Barca is bound to have generated interest from other big clubs too. 

However, so far, there has been no formal offer and the final in Seville could also have a major impact on where he winds up next season. After all, the winner of the Europa League qualifies for the group stage of next year's Champions League – and that just may be good enough reason for Kostic to stay put at Eintracht for a little longer.

This article was translated from German.