In a pre-match news conference lacking much talk of the opposition, there was one question that stood out in that regard ahead of Rangers' Europa League final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Gers captain James Tavernier was pointedly asked for his opinion on Eintracht wing-back Filip Kostic, given the pair are likely to see a lot of each other on the flank they'll share.

"Obviously I respect how he's been playing, he's a top player," Tavernier said. "But, I've just got to bring the best version of myself when the game starts and try to cause him all the problems, try to make him deal with me for the majority of the game. That's all I can really do."

Tavernier's response didn't offer any particularly great insight, but his mentality of wanting to cause Kostic as many problems was at least another identifier of how their duel could be such a key battle.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that Tavernier, a right-back, remarkably heads into Wednesday's game as the Europa League's top scorer on seven goals, and realistically – or, unrealistically – only a hat-trick from Eintracht's Daichi Kamada can prevent the Englishman from at least ending the season with a share of the competition's golden boot.

Further to that, he netted 19 times over the course of the 2020-21 season and could yet match that figure this term – he also has an impressive assists haul of 17.

If it needs reiterating, he's a huge contributor for Rangers in the final third.

So, given he's technically a right-back, there's obviously an element of Tavernier needing to be solid defensively on Wednesday, but some might suggest it's even more essential he's as sharp as ever going forward as that would not only give Rangers a credible threat on the right, but it would potentially keep Kostic occupied in a deeper position.

Granted, Eintracht's set-up with a back three should always ensure they have an extra man to cover for Kostic's runs forward, while the two attacking midfielders supporting Rafael Borre up top often occupy narrow, deeper berths in order to maximise the space out wide for their biggest threat.

Yet there's always the possibility of an overload in behind Kostic if the conditions are right, such is his attacking influence.

 

After all, the frequency at which Kostic delivers into the box is frankly astonishing. This season, he has been the executor of 519 crosses and corners, 140 more than any other player in the top five leagues – Trent Alexander-Arnold is second with 379.

Kostic's 78 successful crosses from open play is also a season-high. Of course, you would expect him to lead the way given he's attempted so many more than anyone else, but his 26.8 per cent accuracy (crosses/corners) is right in line with the average (among players with at least 100 attempted). That in itself is impressive given his greater frequency.

Another way of looking at it is, he is producing one accurate open-play cross every 45.4 minutes. While that may not sound incredible on the face of it, his 12.4 expected assists (xA) is the 10th highest among players in the top five leagues, highlighting just how much of a weapon he is in terms of his creative quality.

So, while he may be classed as a wing-back in terms of his position on a team line-up graphic, the Serbian is there for his attacking tendencies.

A cursory glance at his map of open-play chances created proves that point.

 

But Rangers must also be aware of the danger posed on the opposite flank.

Ansgar Knauff has been one of the stars of Eintracht's journey to the final, with the 20-year-old becoming something of a revelation in the past few months.

As recently as mid-January he was turning out for Borussia Dortmund's second team in the third tier. Then he joined Eintracht on loan and has since scored important Europa League goals against Barcelona and West Ham.

His impact on the road to Seville has been significant, with his brilliant athleticism, bravery and confidence on the ball making him a real asset on the right-hand side.

Before Knauff's arrival, Eintracht were rather lopsided, with their other options on the right far from convincing. Sure, Kostic remains their main outlet, but Knauff's emergence has provided them with another – albeit stylistically different – threat on the other side, giving them greater balance.

 

Across all competitions since his Eintracht debut in early February, only Kostic (5.6) and Jesper Lindstrom (2.6) have amassed better xA records than Knauff, who is also fifth to those two, Borre and Kamada in terms of xA and xG (expected goals) combined.

He may not be their deadliest weapon, but he's proven he can offer them a lot, and his team-high 61 dribble attempts in that period proves he's happy to make his markers work for their money.

Oliver Glasner's team is full of neat, technical players and is also blessed with fine work ethic, as it would need to be to play their high-pressing football.

But their width and desire to attack from the flanks is fundamental to how they play – while it may be easier said than done, limiting their effectiveness out wide would go a long way to ending Rangers' 50-year European trophy drought.

Oliver Glasner has prepared Eintracht Frankfurt to face "a mixture of Barcelona and West Ham" when they go up against Rangers in Wednesday's Europa League final.

Eintracht and Rangers both hope to end lengthy European trophy droughts when they tussle at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville on Wednesday.

The Germans last enjoyed such a success in 1980 when they won the UEFA Cup, while Rangers' most recent continental triumph came eight years earlier in the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Neither side was expected to reach the showpiece, with Eintracht impressively seeing off Barcelona before knocking out West Ham, while Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig were among the teams dispatched by Rangers.

Of course, both BVB and Leipzig enjoyed significantly superior seasons domestically than Eintracht, who ultimately finished 16 points behind the latter in fourth.

But he dismissed the importance of Rangers already beating two teams who are supposedly better than Die Adler.

"You can't do these calculations. If you win versus second and fourth in the Bundesliga then you are favourite because we were 11th in the Bundesliga? It doesn't matter. Both teams deserve to play this final," Glasner told reporters.

The Eintracht coach also seemingly believes the previous assignments against Barca and the Hammers will have put Eintracht in a good position to get to grips with what Rangers can offer.

"We've analysed Rangers – they're a mixture of West Ham and Barcelona," he added. "You can see the Dutch influence [of coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst] with the passing triangles, but [they have] a British mentality.

"We have to be in top form tomorrow. We are in great shape so we will be playing with lots of enthusiasm. The whole of Europe is looking forward to this match."

Asked to elaborate on what defines a "British mentality", Glasner said: "Rangers are a team that play lots of duels, and they are very robust in those duels.

"They have great desire to run back after losing ball, and not just the full-backs. [James] Tavernier is top scorer in Europa League, which shows he runs a lot; the defensive midfielders want to work hard there as well, they're always ready with this readiness to defend but also to go forward.

"That is combined with a very good [style of] football. They play fast with few contacts [direct], so this is how they scored their goals.

"They can cross early, against [Sporting] Braga and Leipzig they scored like this. This is the British mentality."

Sebastian Rode is a key man for Eintracht, with his experience and leadership on the pitch important commodities for Glasner.

While Rode has enjoyed a distinguished career, representing Dortmund and Bayern Much in the past, even he recognises Wednesday's final will be the pinnacle for him.

"This is the highlight of my career, it's one game and it'll be gigantic tomorrow," he said.

"We of course in the last few weeks have seen the euphoria. If you go shopping everyone talks about [their route to the final] and that everyone wants us to win.

"We get goosebumps thinking about that. Both fans will create a crazy atmosphere."

Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst is not worried about the lack of a so-called "Ibrox factor" in Wednesday's Europa League final, adamant Gers fans will more than contribute to the atmosphere in Seville.

Eintracht Frankfurt stand between Rangers and a first European trophy since 1972, when the Scottish giants won the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Van Bronckhorst's side have already exceeded expectations by reaching the showpiece, which will take place at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, home of six-time UEFA Cup/Europa League winners Sevilla.

Rangers' home form has been vital en route to the final, particularly in the context of their results on the road.

Gers have won only one Europa League game away from home this season, the 4-2 thriller at Borussia Dortmund in February, while their three European trips since then have all ended in defeat.

Yet Rangers have been spurred on by a raucous home crowd at Ibrox, particularly in the knockout phase – they have won each of their past three Europa League matches as hosts, scoring three in all of them.

Spanish police are expecting roughly 150,000 Rangers and Eintracht fans to be in Seville for Wednesday's game. As such, Van Bronckhorst is not worried about a lack of backing.

Asked how crucial the support will be, Van Bronckhorst told reporters: "It will be a factor because our fans are supporting us really well.

"Of course, Ibrox is a huge factor and in the ties we played this season in Europe we knew to get a good result away from home to take back to Ibrox [because] we are capable of winning against any team [at home].

"Of course, a final is different because it's only one game you play, not at Ibrox but in Seville, I think we'll both [Rangers and Eintracht] feel that.

"It's different, but still I think you will hear them a lot tomorrow, our fans, and I think our performances can be good as well, so I think we are ready and we'll play the way we always do and give everything we have to win this game."

The presence of Kemar Roofe certainly will not hurt Rangers' chances of success on Wednesday, with the striker back in contention following an injury.

Roofe hurt his knee last month as Rangers beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, and even as recently as last week Van Bronckhorst acknowledged the forward's participation in Seville was doubtful.

But the Dutchman confirmed Roofe is available to face Eintracht, with his involvement now just a selection matter.

"Kemar is available. He trained for the first time with us yesterday [Monday]," Van Bronckhorst added. "He did individual training before that, and he will be training with us [on Tuesday].

"He will be in the squad and I want to use him, he is available."

Roofe has scored 16 times for Rangers across all competitions this season despite not being a guaranteed starter – 16 of his 35 appearances have come from the bench.

The return of Roofe is made all the more important by Alfredo Morelos' absence through a long-term injury.

"Of course, it's a boost for us," Van Bronckhorst said. "He got injured a couple weeks ago when he was in a good spell.

"He's very important for team. I'm happy he's back because he was working hard to be ready for the Leipzig game.

"He didn't make it so we just extended [the season] for him with the final. He is here and he is ready to play his part."

Wednesday's Europa League final is set to attract over 150,000 Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers fans to Seville, despite well under a third of that total having tickets.

With neither club having won a continental trophy since Eintracht lifted the UEFA Cup in 1980, this final has truly captured the imagination of supporters who certainly wouldn't have had grand expectations of getting this far.

But for Rangers especially, there's an air of destiny about their journey to the final – or, more specifically, host city Seville.

While perhaps not obvious, Scottish football can claim several football links to Andalusia's capital.

Perhaps Rangers' passage – and potential victory – were meant to be…

Sevilla's Scottish roots

These links go back as far as 1890, when a group of British men in Seville celebrated Burns Night by founding Club de Football de Sevilla.

Edward Farguharson Johnston of Elgin and Hugh MacColl, from Glasgow, were among the club's founders, with the latter appointed as Sevilla's first ever captain.

Sevilla's founding and debut match were first described in The Dundee Courier six weeks after that fateful Burns Night, with Recreativo Huelva their opponents in the first official match ever played in Spain on March 8, 1890. Sevilla won 2-0.

While Recreativo were Spain's first sports club, the match against Sevilla makes Los Nervionenses – whose Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium provides the setting for Wednesday's final – the oldest club dedicated solely to football in the country.

And it's partly thanks to a Glaswegian.

Betis' homage to Celtic

A Spanish man named Manuel Asensio Ramos studied in Scotland as a young adult, taking on Celtic as his adopted club while he was there.

He later returned home to Spain and became one of the founding members of Real Betis, who subsequently donned green and white stripes as a tribute to Celtic from 1911.

Celtic had changed to their famous hoops eight years earlier, but the link was set in history.

Five years ago, Betis briefly switched to hoops for a match against Malaga to celebrate Andalusia Day, with Celtic communicating their delight at the club choosing "to wear the hoops for their special day".

The Bhoys from Seville

Of course, 2022 isn't the first time one of the Glasgow giants has been in Seville for a European final.

Nineteen years ago, Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final, facing Jose Mourinho's Porto at the Estadio La Cartuja on the outskirts of the city – that is also the location of Rangers' 'fan zone' this week.

'The Bhoys from Seville' was the nickname bestowed upon Celtic for the trip, with the tag a pun on their 'the Boys from Brazil' moniker.

Celtic ultimately lost 3-2 via the silver goal rule in extra time, but the occasion is still widely remembered fondly by the club and supporters, 80,000 of whom were said to be in Seville for the festivities.

Fans of the club were widely commended for their behaviour in the city, with UEFA and FIFA later awarding them Fair Play Awards.

Glasgow returns the favour

Four years after Seville played host to Celtic, Glasgow welcome Sevilla and Espanyol for the 2007 UEFA Cup final.

Hampden Park was the location of Sevilla's second successive triumph in the competition, beating their LaLiga rivals 3-1 on penalties after a gripping 2-2 draw over 120 minutes.

Despite Celtic's links to Betis, it was widely felt by Sevilla fans in attendance that Bhoys supporters were cheering on Los Nervionenses, while Rangers aficionados adopted Espanyol as their team.

Dani Alves was the only Sevilla player to miss his penalty, while Andres Palop in the Andalusians' net made three vital saves.

James Tavernier's first Europa League run appeared likely to be his last.

The right-back finally got his chance at Newcastle United in 2012-13 as Alan Pardew's first-team squad was stretched to breaking point.

However, Tavernier's chance equated to just eight appearances and five starts in all competitions, utilised right across the defence. He played 301 minutes in Europe (including qualifiers) but looked a little out of his depth.

By the time Newcastle reached the quarter-finals of the competition, Tavernier had played his last game for the club.

The following season brought the fifth and sixth loan moves of his career – all to League One or below. A permanent transfer to Wigan Athletic followed, but Tavernier was soon back out on loan again – to League One again.

This underwhelming sequence of temporary moves to the third tier for a player once seen as a potential Premier League starter was interrupted then by Rangers. Heading to the Scottish Championship, it would have taken incredible foresight to even imagine how Tavernier's career might be transformed.

Newcastle may not have had another European campaign in the past nine years, but Tavernier has enjoyed five – and now, in Seville, a final.

The right-back goal machine

Rangers hoped for goals when they struck a deal with Wigan to bring Martyn Waghorn and Tavernier to Ibrox in 2015. Waghorn delivered in the club's promotion campaign, scoring 28 times in all competitions, but Rangers surely could not have anticipated Tavernier would also chip in with 15.

While Waghorn is long gone, having not performed at quite the same level on Rangers' return to the top tier, Tavernier has since maintained his staggering standard. In 345 Rangers appearances, the defender has scored 83 goals.

This season, Tavernier has scored 18 goals and assisted a further 16 for 34 goal involvements.

Having either scored or assisted every 147 minutes on average in 2021-22, Tavernier is operating in the same sort of range as Rafael Leao (141), Dejan Kulusevski (144), Luis Suarez (153) and, incredibly, Sadio Mane (157).

Nahuel Molina, the highest-scoring defender in Europe's top five leagues, has scored just eight times, while even Trent Alexander-Arnold's leading goal involvements tally of 20 is dwarfed by the man playing north of the border.

Tavernier's status as Rangers' penalty taker boosts his numbers, of course, but he still has six goals and 22 goal involvements discounting his dozen efforts from 12 yards.

The standard of the competition in Scotland might also be counted against Tavernier, yet his 16 European appearances alone have yielded seven goals (three non-penalty goals), three assists and 10 goal involvements – again at a rate of one every 147 minutes.

Top marksman with Morelos missing

Tavernier's first goal involvement of this European campaign saw the Rangers captain lift a pass in behind the Alashkert defence for Alfredo Morelos to score what proved to be the decisive goal of their Europa League play-off, getting the then Scottish champions back on track after Champions League qualifying heartbreak.

Wednesday's final against Eintracht Frankfurt would not have been possible without that August example of this most effective assister-scorer combination.

Unfortunately, Rangers will not be able to rely on that link-up again this week, with Morelos ruled out for the season when he underwent thigh surgery last month, seemingly dealing a sizeable blow to his side's hopes of European glory.

Morelos, with 29 goals, is Rangers' all-time leading European marksman, while he this season also became their top scorer discounting qualifiers as he brought his total to 15.

"It is a big blow to us, because he is our striker and we now don't have him any more this season, so we are disappointed," manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said.

"But we know what the problem is, how long he's out, and we have to move on. That's the only thing we have to do now."

Tavernier has since ensured the talismanic forward has not been missed. His seven goals are the most ever by a Rangers player in a European campaign (excluding qualifiers) – Morelos in 2019-20 had a share of the previous record of six – and remarkably make him the leading scorer in this season's Europa League.

The man for the big occasion, each of Tavernier's goals have come in the knockout stage, including opening the scoring in each of Rangers' four home legs.

When Kemar Roofe joined Morelos on the sidelines against RB Leipzig in the semi-finals, it was Tavernier who appeared in the centre-forward position to level the tie in Glasgow with his 15th European goal (10 excluding qualifiers).

Trent of the Europa League

The first of Tavernier's European goals came back in July 2018, by which point Alexander-Arnold had already played in a Champions League final for Liverpool.

Alexander-Arnold might be seven years Tavernier's junior, but he has been a source of inspiration in recent seasons for the Rangers skipper, who named him alongside Liverpool team-mate Andy Robertson and Brazil greats Dani Alves, Marcelo and Cafu in October 2020 as a standard-bearer in the full-back role.

And comparisons between the pair, both of whom are preparing for European finals, come easily.

Alexander-Arnold has created 19 chances in the Champions League this season, just behind Tavernier's 20 in the Europa League, with the pair each highly influential both in open play and from set-pieces.

Tavernier makes a long list of English right-backs who remain uncapped at international level due to the incredible competition in Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad, and former Rangers captain Lorenzo Amoruso tells Stats Perform: "I showcased him in Italy, but nobody cared because, of course, it happened to me, too: the best player in Scotland, thanks to some unbelievable performances, but never a call for the national team.

"I think I deserved it – at least as a reward or out of curiosity. This Amoruso, as a defender, becomes the best player in Scotland... it is not something that happens every day. The same applies to Tavernier."

Yet even Alexander-Arnold has only turned out 16 times for England, clearly behind Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and now Reece James in the pecking order.

The explanations for Alexander-Arnold's limited opportunities often focus on his defensive shortcomings – the same attributes for which Tavernier has come under scrutiny.

However, neither have committed an error leading to a shot, let alone a goal, in the Champions League or Europa League this season, and Tavernier actually measures favourably next to Alexander-Arnold by several defensive metrics.

Alexander-Arnold has made 1.9 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per 90 minutes to Tavernier's 1.6 tackles and 1.2 interceptions, but the Liverpool man has been dribbled past every 54 minutes on average and won only 48.2 per cent of his duels. Tavernier has been dribbled past every 150 minutes and won 56.3 per cent of his duels.

Those numbers will perhaps regress a little next season if Tavernier is playing in the Champions League, but he has to get there first by beating Frankfurt. And Rangers will likely be more concerned by their right-back's attacking output on Wednesday than his work going the other way.

None of us truly know where this life is going to take us, and what highs and lows we will experience along the way.

That is especially true for anyone associated with Rangers Football Club if you had told them after the 2008 UEFA Cup final they would next reach another European showpiece 14 years later.

As the Gers players trudged off the field at the Etihad Stadium having been thoroughly outplayed by Zenit, the disappointment was tempered with a belief that at least this was a team that had made a final and may have been on the way to more.

It took nearly a decade and a half, but on Wednesday they find themselves heading to Spain to line up opposite Eintracht Frankfurt to contest the Europa League final.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at how Rangers got from Manchester to Seville, with one of the bumpiest rides football has ever seen.

A night to forget in Manchester

Under the guidance of legendary manager Walter Smith in 2007-08, Rangers were looking to overthrow rivals Celtic in the league, having been bested by the Hoops the previous two seasons.

It was no good as Celtic made it a third Scottish title in a row, beating Rangers by three points, but there was a silver lining for the blue half of Glasgow.

Having finished third in their Champions League group behind Barcelona and Lyon, Rangers found themselves in the UEFA Cup.

They overcame Panathinaikos on away goals first up, before beating Werder Bremen 2-0 at Ibrox in first leg of the last 16, one of only two wins they actually managed in their entire run.

After getting past Sporting Lisbon in the quarter-finals, a penalty shoot-out success after 210 goalless minutes against Fiorentina sent Smith's side to the final.

However, it was a step too far for Rangers as they succumbed to defeat in Manchester, losing 2-0 to a Zenit team containing Andrei Arshavin and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, and managed by former Gers boss Dick Advocaat.

It was a blow but Rangers went on to win the next three Scottish titles until things began to unravel in the 2011-12 season, with poor form and a points deduction for financial issues seeing Celtic take the crown back.

That was far from the worst thing that happened to the club that year, though.

The fall and rise of Rangers

The financial issues were worse than first feared. Owing significant money to HM Revenue and Customs, The Rangers Football Club plc entered liquidation on 31 October 2012.

The club was forced to reform under the new ownership of Charles Green and a vote from other member clubs of the Scottish Football League meant Rangers were forced to begin again at the bottom, in the third division.

Although they had to sell most of their players to raise money and because few fancied playing in Scotland's fourth tier, Rangers still boasted by far the strongest squad in the third division, while manager Ally McCoist had also stayed on to try and take them back to the top.

They unsurprisingly won the league by 24 points in their first season, and had even fewer problems in the second division, now called League One, going unbeaten and drawing only three of their 36 games, securing 102 points and promotion at the first time of asking again.

The Championship was a different prospect altogether, though, as Rangers found themselves in with both Hibernian and Hearts. The two Edinburgh clubs ultimately finished above them, though Rangers beat both Queen of the South and Hibs in the playoffs, before losing to Motherwell in the final, meaning they would have to try again.

Stuart McCall was in charge by that point, and the former Scotland midfielder was able to get the job done in 2015-16, finishing 11 points ahead of second-placed Falkirk.

For the first time in four years, Rangers were back at the top table in Scotland, but this was always going to be the biggest leap. Their first Old Firm derby back in the top flight ended in a 5-1 drubbing by Celtic.

During the winter break, Rangers had played RB Leipzig in a friendly, losing 4-0 to the German side, which was perhaps a prophetic sign of how far they would need to rise to get back to where they felt they belonged.

Rangers finished third in their first two seasons back in the Premiership and decided to bring in a big name to try and force their way into the title picture. Steven Gerrard.

The former Liverpool star was new to management but was able to secure second place in 2018-19, though also back in Europe, Rangers were unable to get out of the Europa League group stage.

They made it to the round of 16 the following season before going out to Bayer Leverkusen, and despite putting up more of a fight in the league, a wobble in the second half of the campaign saw Celtic claim their ninth consecutive title.

Rangers fans everywhere wanted Gerrard to do everything he could to stop their great rivals from making it 10 in a row, and despite none of them being able to witness it thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Gerrard and his players did just that.

They had done it emphatically as well, going undefeated and collecting 102 points to win the Premiership, averaging 2.42 goals for per game, and just 0.34 goals against across their 38 league matches.

Full circle

It felt like Rangers were ready to take the next step, and many assumed that was by getting back into the group stage of the Champions League in 2021-22.

However, those plans were scuppered as they were beaten home and away by Malmo in qualifying, so back to the Europa League it was.

After losing their first two group games to Lyon and Sparta Prague without scoring, few will have had any hopes about making it to the knockout round playoffs, let alone where they ended up.

Home wins against Brondby and Sparta as well as away draws with Brondby and Lyon saw them advance a point ahead of the Czech side, though they were given a daunting tie against Borussia Dortmund.

On top of that, Gerrard had left for Aston Villa in November, with former player Giovanni van Bronckhorst taking over.

A stunning effort in Signal Iduna Park saw them win 4-2, before completing the job with a 2-2 draw back at Ibrox.

Hard-fought aggregate victories against Red Star Belgrade and Braga sent them to the semi-finals, and a date with more Bundesliga opposition, the very same they had lost convincingly to in that 2017 friendly.

Leipzig will have been wondering how they only won 1-0 at Red Bull Arena in the first leg, but Ibrox was a different matter, with a raucous crowd again cheering Rangers to a famous 3-1 win, and their first European final since 2008.

The second leg came nine years and one day after beating Berwick Rangers 1-0 at Ibrox in their final game in the third division.

It has been quite a ride since Manchester in 2008. Whatever happens in Seville, it is not always about the destination. It's about the journey.

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner assured Evan Ndicka had not suffered an injury that would keep him out of the Europa League final after the defender hobbled off on Saturday.

Frankfurt's focus turns towards Wednesday's showpiece against Rangers in Seville after their Bundesliga campaign concluded with a 2-2 draw against Mainz.

But there was momentary concern during the final match of the league season as Ndicka had to be substituted.

Ndicka, who has been linked to both Manchester United and Newcastle United, will have a key role to play if Frankfurt are to beat Rangers to the trophy.

And Glasner had positive news on the 22-year-old's condition afterwards, saying: "It's nothing bad – he has blisters on his feet. Everyone came out well."

The coach confirmed all his players were "fit" following the match – including, perhaps, midfielder Jesper Lindstrom, who has not played since the European semi-final first leg against West Ham due to a hamstring injury.

"He looks pretty good," Glasner said. "Everything is going according to plan."

However, he wants to see Lindstrom on the training pitch in the coming days if the Denmark international is to play any part in midweek.

"Only from the couch and from the massage table, it is not possible," Glasner added.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst hopes to buck history when Rangers face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final, as he aims to become just the second manager to win a European trophy at the club.

The Dutchman will lead the Scottish Premier League giants in Seville next Wednesday against their Bundesliga rivals as the famous Glasgow club bid for only a second continental trophy.

Rangers were beaten by Zenit in the UEFA Cup final in Manchester 14 years ago

Their only previous taste of European glory came in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final, which they won under Willie Waddell with a defeat of Dynamo Moscow in Barcelona.

Half a century on, Van Bronckhorst could repeat the feat with a triumph in Spain, and the Rangers boss is desperate to lift the trophy.

"It means a lot," he told a press conference. "There aren't many managers in the history of this club who played a European final.

"There's only one who actually won it. For the club, it would be fantastic to win a second prize in Europe."

Referring to the lack of European success for Scottish clubs, the Dutchman added: "It's not often you play finals, it's not often you play finals in Europe as a Scottish team.

"It's very rare that it happens. We're really honoured and proud that we are in the final in Seville, and can enjoy this occasion with many fans all around the world.

"We're representing this beautiful club, we're representing Scotland, so we have to make sure we give a good impression, and that's what we want to do."

Touching on his side's impressive exploits in beating RB Leipzig to reach the final, Van Bronckhorst says the memory will live him with a long time, while stressing the job is not yet done.

"The Leipzig game was one of the best nights I've experienced as a player and a manager," he added. "But it is very important that we keep going.

"The last two games we've played, against Dundee United and Ross County, we didn't relax because we need the same intensity, the same desire to play against Frankfurt.

"I don't want my players to slip up. Saturday [when Rangers play Hearts] is a bit different, because we're going to change some players, but I think we're ready for the final. That's all that matters now."

The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool will be refereed by Clement Turpin, UEFA has announced.

Liverpool overcame Villarreal in the semi-finals, while Madrid edged past Manchester City in dramatic fashion to reach the showpiece of UEFA's flagship club competition in Paris on May 28.

Turpin, who has been an international referee since 2010, will officiate his first Champions League final.

The Frenchman previously served as fourth official in the 2018 showpiece in Kyiv, where Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1.

Turpin, who refereed last season's Europa League final in which Villarreal defeated Manchester United on penalties, will be joined by compatriots Nicolas Danos and Cyril Gringore as his assistants.

Continuing with the French theme, Benoit Bastien will be fourth official and Jerome Brisard will lead the VAR team, which also includes Frenchman Willy Delajod and two Italians, Massimiliano Irrati and Filippo Meli.

In the Europa League final between Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18, Slovenian Slavko Vincic will be the man in the middle with compatriots Tomaz Klancnik and Andraz Kovacic on the line.

Meanwhile, Romanian Istvan Kovacs will take charge of his first UEFA club competition final when he officiates the Europa Conference League final, which sees Roma face Feyenoord at Arena Kombtare in Albania on May 25.

Kovacs will be joined by fellow countrymen Vasile Florin Marinescu and Mihai-Ovidiu Artene.

An overjoyed Oliver Glasner praised his side's ability to withstand a resilient West Ham, as Eintracht Frankfurt qualified for the Europa League final on Thursday.

Carrying a slender 2-1 lead on aggregate into Thursday's second leg, Eintracht gave themselves critical breathing room with Rafael Borre's 26th-minute goal, eventually winning 1-0 on the night and going through 3-1 over the tie.

Even with West Ham needing to chase the game, Aaron Cresswell's first-half dismissal meant Eintracht had the majority of possession, yet they still gave up higher-quality chances. A 10-man West Ham actually generated a higher xG of 1.62 in comparison to the hosts' 1.13 over the 90 minutes.

Nevertheless, Glasner was proud of his team's defensive effort.

“Slowly something is falling into place," he said post-match. "What the team did again was unbelievable. West Ham threw everything in the balance of the game.

"It was a difficult early phase and with West Ham facing elimination we played really well and scored a great goal. In the second half we defended the long balls and set pieces with everything we had.

"We said to the players: 'I don't know if you are the best players or if we are the best coaches. But we are exceptional as a group and together we can be the best.' It was a wonderful evening."

With the win, Eintracht secured their first European final in 42 years, when they won the UEFA Cup in the 1979-80.

Despite a fiercely contested game which saw eight yellow cards and two red cards, including the dismissal of West Ham boss David Moyes, the final whistle saw fans at the Deutsche Bank Park flood the pitch in jubilant scenes.

Following the match, Glasner did not hide or play down the gravity of the occasion or what awaits in Seville.

"It's the best thing when you can make so many people happy," he said. "There is always tension in the game.

"I saw yesterday that you can lead 1-0 in the 90th minute and then be 2-1 behind two minutes later. If that can happen to Manchester City, it can happen anywhere, anytime. After that, this recognition is wonderful after the final whistle. It's an evening you'll never forget.

“I said in the dressing room that I don’t even know what to say before [Borussia Monchengladbach] in three days. For us, it’s all about this final.”

David Moyes apologised for losing his cool with a ball boy after he was sent off as West Ham missed out on a place in the Europa League final.

Manager Moyes was ordered to the stands late on for kicking a ball thrown by the ball boy as West Ham lost 1-0 on the night to Eintracht Frankfurt and 3-1 on aggregate.

"I kicked a ball back at the ballboy, so I apologise for that, he threw the ball very softly at me," Moyes said on BT Sport.

Television footage of the incident showed an angry Moyes lashing out.

Moyes' team were forced to play most of the match with a numerical disadvantage after Aaron Cresswell's 18th-minute sending off made him the first Englishman to receive a red card in a European semi-final since John Terry for Chelsea against Barcelona in the 2011-12 Champions League.

 

According to Moyes, West Ham have faced better teams than Oliver Glasner's Frankfurt on their European run, but Rafael Borre's first-half goal condemned the Premier League side to a semi-final exit.

Cresswell also became the first English player to be dismissed twice in the same edition of a major European competition, having also seen red in a quarter-final draw against Lyon.

While Moyes said sorry for his own actions, he was unhappy with the decision to dismiss Cresswell, and suggested West Ham's previous knockout opponents Lyon and Sevilla were stronger than Frankfurt.

"[We have] lots of complaints," Moyes told BT Sport after the defeat. "We've enjoyed being in the competition. I don't know if we've enjoyed the officiating, but we have enjoyed the competition. I just feel disappointment, because I think this was a chance. I think we probably played better teams than Frankfurt.

"To be honest, we probably lost the game in the first 30 seconds at the London Stadium, where we conceded a goal [scored by Ansgar Knauff] and we've been chasing the game ever since."

He added, on West Ham TV: "We had a sending-off tonight and I think over the two games, for some reason, a lot of things haven't gone our way.

"But maybe we have to learn a little bit more about officiating in Europe and different things. We've now had two sendings-off in games – one in the quarter-final as well, when we had to play 45 minutes with 10 men.

"Tonight, we had to play the best part of 75 minutes with 10, so the players are brilliant. How they've worked and their resilience to keep going… and actually, I thought they tried to take the game to Frankfurt and had chances."

West Ham travel to relegated Norwich City in the Premier League on Sunday as they aim to secure a top-seven finish.

While West Ham missed the opportunity to reach a first major European final since they lost to Anderlecht in the 1975-76 Cup Winners' Cup trophy match, Frankfurt have now reached their third such occasion, having been European Cup runners-up in 1959-60 and UEFA Cup winners in 1979-80.

Glasner's men will face Rangers in the final in Seville later this month after the Scottish outfit overcame RB Leipzig 3-2 on aggregate.

John Lundstram saluted his "best night by a country mile" after firing Rangers to the Europa League final after their dramatic victory over RB Leipzig on Thursday.

The midfielder was the hero as he struck the winner 10 minutes from time for Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side, who prevailed 3-2 on aggregate at Ibrox.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, first-half goals from James Tavernier and Glen Kamara turned the tie on its head, before Christopher Nkunku squared proceedings with 20 minutes remaining.

But there was to be one late twist as Lundstram sent Ibrox into ecstasy, with his goal setting up a showdown with Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18.

"I can't put it into words," he told BT Sport. "I came in with a good feeling, but to actually go out and do it, I can't put it into words.

"We've been through so many ups and downs this season but to come through it and reach a Europa League final, wow!

"It's my best night by a country mile."

Lundstram also paid tribute to Rangers' much-loved kit man Jimmy Bell, who died on Wednesday at the age of 69.

"Words can’t describe how much Jimmy meant to everyone," the midfielder added. "He was the bedrock of the team. 

"I want to dedicate the goal tonight to him, I love him to bits."

Skipper Tavernier added: "It's unbelievable. A European final; it's what you dream of.

"We'll go there [Seville] full of confidence. Frankfurt got there for a reason, but it's one game and we'll fully back ourselves. 

"We're in this to win it. We want to make all the fans proud."

Meanwhile, Van Bronckhorst was delighted with the efforts of his players, and has urged them to grasp their opportunity in the final.

"It's very hard to find the words. It's been an amazing night," the head coach said.

"We said before the game we'd do everything possible. The players were fantastic. You can't write a script better than this. We're all very proud.

"Not many players can play European finals. It's not for every player. Once we're there, we need to do everything to win it. It's remarkable."

John Lundstram's late strike saw Rangers through to the Europa League final as they roared back at Ibrox to beat RB Leipzig 3-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, first-half goals from James Tavernier and Glen Kamara turned the tie in favour of Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side.

Leipzig, who were seeking their first European final appearance, levelled on aggregate when Christopher Nkunku neatly volleyed home in the 70th minute.

However, Lundstram popped up 10 minutes from time to snatch a dramatic winner for the hosts, who will play Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18.

Aiming to become only the fifth side to overturn a first-leg semi-final defeat and progress to the Europa League showpiece, Rangers levelled the tie in the 18th minute.

Kamara released Ryan Kent down the flank and the winger drilled the ball across the face of goal, with Tavernier applying the finishing touch at the far post.

The hosts turned the tie on its head just six minutes later, with Scott Wright teeing up Kamara, who brilliantly stroked the ball into the far corner from 20 yards.

Joe Aribo squandered a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0 on the night soon after, failing to turn home from six yards after Tavernier cushioned Borna Barisic's deep cross into his path.

Leipzig grew into the contest during the second half and levelled the tie with 19 minutes remaining. Moments after Allan McGregor did brilliantly to deny Konrad Laimer, Nkunku drifted to the near post to volley home from Angelino's centre.

Yet Rangers sealed their progress to Seville after a winner 10 minutes from time, Lundstram reacting quickest to finish after Kent's deep cross was headed off the line by Josko Gvardiol.

Eintracht Frankfurt clinched a place in the Europa League final and ended West Ham's dream run as Rafael Borre netted in a 1-0 win over the 10-man visitors.

David Moyes' team had Aaron Cresswell sent off for preventing a clear goalscoring chance early on, before Borre put Oliver Glasner's hosts in front with a neat finish after 26 minutes.

West Ham struggled to create clear-cut chances despite putting in a spirited performance, as their strong European run came to a disappointing end with a 3-1 aggregate defeat.

Despite sitting 11th in the Bundesliga, Frankfurt could end the campaign by securing a major European trophy and a spot in next season's Champions League by winning the May 18 final in Seville.

After a scrappy start, West Ham were dealt a huge blow when Cresswell hauled Jens Hauge down on the edge of the area 18 minutes in, with the VAR advising referee Jesus Manzano to send off the left-back before Filip Kostic drove the resulting free-kick wide.

The hosts needed less than 10 minutes to make their numerical advantage count, as Borre swept a side-footed finish into the bottom-left corner after meeting Ansgar Knauff's cut-back.

The Hammers struggled to assert themselves in a boisterous atmosphere, but almost found a surprise equaliser when Evan Ndicka cleared off the line after Jarrod Bowen's free-kick struck Kurt Zouma at the back post.

Borre hit a left-footed volley into Alphonse Areola's arms immediately after the break, before Craig Dawson headed Michail Antonio's cross straight at Kevin Trapp after an hour.

Moyes was sent off for a touchline outburst as West Ham's European dream slipped away, before Tomas Soucek missed a glaring headed chance in the final minute as the hosts cruised into the final.

What does it mean? Frankfurt build on first-leg triumph for historic semi-final win

Frankfurt's victory saw them reach their first European final since the 1980 UEFA Cup, when they beat Borussia Monchengladbach on away goals after a two-legged 3-3 aggregate draw.

With the win, Glasner's men have also become the first German team to reach finals in both the Europa League and UEFA Cup.

Hammers left deflated after Cresswell red

West Ham's hopes of reaching their first major European final since the 1975-76 Cup Winners' Cup were dealt a monumental blow when Cresswell became the first English player to ever receive two red cards in a single season in a European competition.

Cresswell was also sent off against Lyon in the last round, and is the first English player to be shown red in a European semi-final since Chelsea's John Terry in 2012 (against Barcelona in the Champions League).

Borre continues continental run

As well as recording seven goals and four assists in the Bundesliga this season, Borre has been in inspired form in Frankfurt's Europa League knockout games.

His composed finish means he has either scored (two) or assisted (one) three of Frankfurt's last five Europa League goals.

What's next? 

Frankfurt host Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Sunday, while West Ham must turn their attentions back to securing European football for next season when they travel to Norwich City in the Premier League on the same day.

German police arrested more than 30 fans after fighting broke out on the eve of Eintracht Frankfurt's Europa League semi-final second leg against West Ham.

Frankfurt am Main police said two West Ham supporters had been knocked unconscious and were taken to hospital after being attacked by apparent Eintracht fans.

That incident occurred early on Wednesday evening in the Schulstrasse area of the city centre, ahead of Thursday's match.

A police statement issued on Thursday confirmed: "Here, a group of violent home fans attacked a group of away fans, knocking two of them unconscious. Both men were taken to a hospital with injuries and had to be hospitalised."

The police reported "a larger group of violent criminals", who were thought to be Eintracht supporters, targeted West Ham fans later in the evening on Taubenstrasse, with that baseball bat attack causing damage at a restaurant and leading to a bar worker suffering "minor injuries".

The police added: "In the evening hours, the crowd of English fans was concentrated on Munchener Strasse. An estimated 800 guest fans were to be found here, including around 150 risk fans. Due to the accumulation, Munchner Strasse had to be closed to both road and rail traffic. Large processions of WHU [West Ham United] supporters formed twice in the evening and at night on Munchener Strasse to march through the station district. The police prevented this both times with timely and consistent intervention.

"At around 11:30pm, supporters of both camps sought an argument on Gutleutstrasse. The emergency services also stopped the imminent confrontation here. The police arrested 15 violent supporters of the home team."

Police reported the trouble began to abate afterwards, and the street was reopened to traffic. "In total, the police arrested more than 30 people yesterday," they said.

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