Eintracht Frankfurt produced a stunning performance as they reached the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-2 second-leg victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou on Thursday. 

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw in Germany last week, and any thoughts Xavi's men had of brushing aside their opponents on home turf were dispelled in the fourth minute when Filip Kostic scored from the penalty spot. 

Rafael Borre and Kostic added further goals to give the scoreline a scarcely believable look, before a fine Sergio Busquets strike and Memphis Depay penalty reduced the deficit in stoppage time.

But Frankfurt had done enough for a famous 4-3 aggregate win and Oliver Glasner's men will now face West Ham in the last four after they overcame Lyon.

Barca started dismally and fell behind in the fourth minute when Kostic slammed home from the spot after Eric Garcia had hauled down Jesper Lindstrom in the area. 

They went 2-0 down in the 36th minute, though, courtesy of a stunning 25-yard strike from Borre that flashed past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the roof of the net. 

Ansgar Knauff fizzed a strike narrowly over Ter Stegen's crossbar soon after as Frankfurt threatened to put the tie beyond Barca's reach before the interval.

Frankfurt then sent their fans into dreamland when Kostic drilled across Ter Stegen for his second of the game in the 67th minute.

Busquets thundered home from outside the penalty area in stoppage time moments after having an effort ruled out by VAR for offside, before Depay scored from the spot with almost the last kick of the game after Evan Ndicka had clattered into Luuk de Jong. 

 

What does it mean? Barca's unbeaten run comes to a crashing halt

Few expected Barca's 15-game unbeaten streak to come to an end against a team languishing ninth in the Bundesliga, but Frankfurt were excellent value for their win. 

Glasner's side, who had 15 shots to Barca's 10, are now unbeaten in their last 10 games against Spanish sides in European competition (W6 D4), including the last five away from home (W4 D1).

Kostic's game to remember

Kostic started and ended the scoring for Frankfurt, while he also played the key pass before Borre's glorious strike. That made him the first player to score and assist in a single European game against Barcelona at Camp Nou since Juninho Pernambucano for Lyon in March 2009 in the Champions League.

Barca's spot-kick woes continue 

Garcia's early penalty concession was Barca's fourth in their last two games – as many as in their previous 55 matches in all competitions. Indeed, Kostic's penalty was the earliest conceded by the Catalan giants in all competitions since the 2004-05 season. 

What's next?

Barca will need to lift themselves when they host Cadiz in LaLiga on Monday, while a buoyant Frankfurt visit Union Berlin in the Bundesliga a day earlier. 

West Ham cruised into a first European semi-final in 46 years as they beat Lyon 3-0 in the Europa League.

Goals from Craig Dawson, Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen secured a surprisingly comfortable 4-1 aggregate success in France, setting up a last-four meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Germans were, in fact, the opposition the last time the Hammers reached this stage of continental competition - that tie coming en route to defeat in the final of the 1976 edition of the Cup Winners' Cup.

But there will be hopes of going one better in Europe over four decades on after such a convincing win against elite opposition.

With Lyon supporters creating an intimidating atmosphere pre-match, West Ham wasted little time in showing they would not be cowed, Pablo Fornals bursting in behind to shoot wide with just 15 seconds on the clock.

But Lyon responded well, Karl Toko Ekambi smashing the post after quick feet in the box before Houssem Aouar saw a shot blocked on the line. 

The hosts were also controlling possession, and so when Ekambi kneed a Malo Gusto cross goalward soon after, it felt like the opener was coming.

Unfortunately for Lyon, it was at the other end, with sheer desire from Dawson allowing him to beat all others to a near-post Fornals corner and head home.

Not content to sit on their lead, West Ham then doubled the advantage before the break as a low Rice shot from the edge of the box found the back of the net after taking a nick off Castello Lukeba.

That late blow prompted Peter Bosz to roll the dice, Lucas Paqueta and Mateus Tete coming on at half-time to replace Tanguy Ndombele and Romain Faivre.

But there was to be no quick fix, with Bowen breaking free just three minutes after the restart and producing a cool right-footed finish to all but settle the tie.

Lyon did not stop trying to make things interesting from there on in, their best chance seeing Gusto force Alphonse Areola to push a powerful shot around the post.

But a first failure to trouble the scoresheet at home in the Europa League since the 2013-14 season ultimately ensured that West Ham had little trouble seeing out the win. 

 

What does it mean? West Ham deserve to dream

With the tie delicately poised at 1-1 and Lyon sure to be roared on by an enthusiastic home crowd, this game felt like a major test of an inexperienced West Ham side's European credentials.

But the ease with which they passed it can only provide a major boost to belief among David Moyes' squad that something special is in the offing this season.

Ndombele struggles

After failing to pull up any trees during his time in the Premier League, Ndombele might have hoped to make a point with his performance against English opposition here.

But the midfielder won just 40 per cent of his five duels and surrendered possession on five occasions before being hooked at half-time.

Fornals a creative star

It feels unfair to highlight any one player after West Ham performed so impressively from front to back against top-level opposition.

However, Fornals' influence on both sides of the ball can be fairly summed up by his team-high 66 touches, two assists, and four interceptions.

What's next?

West Ham return to Premier League action on Sunday when they host struggling Burnley. Lyon, meanwhile, face Bordeaux at home on the same day.

Eintracht Frankfurt produced a stunning performance as they reached the Europa League semi-finals with a remarkable 3-0 second-leg victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou on Thursday. 

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw in Germany last week, and any thoughts Xavi's men had of brushing aside their opponents on home turf were dispelled in the fourth minute when Filip Kostic scored from the penalty spot. 

It got even better for the visitors before the break when Borre crashed home from outside the penalty area, before Kostic's second in the 67th minute put the seal on one of the club's most famous ever victories. 

Oliver Glasner's men will now face West Ham in the last four after they overcame Lyon.

Barca started dismally and fell behind in the fourth minute when Kostic slammed home from the spot after Eric Garcia had hauled down Jesper Lindstrom in the area. 

Ronald Araujo forced a smart stop from Kevin Trapp with an instinctive volley shortly before the midway point of the first half as Barca belatedly woke from their slumber. 

They went 2-0 down in the 36th minute, though, courtesy of a stunning 25-yard strike from Borre that flashed past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the roof of the net. 

Ansgar Knauff fizzed a strike narrowly over Ter Stegen's crossbar soon after as Frankfurt threatened to put the tie beyond Barca's reach before the interval.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inexplicably failed to force Ousmane Dembele's cross home from close range, before Ter Stegen denied Lindstrom after a rapid counter-attacking move at the other end. 

Frankfurt then ensured the scoreline had a scarcely believable look when Kostic drilled across Ter Stegen for his second of the game. 

 

What does it mean? Barca's unbeaten run comes to a crashing halt

Few expected Barca's 15-game unbeaten streak to come to an end against a team languishing ninth in the Bundesliga, but Frankfurt were excellent value for their win. 

Glasner's side, who had xx shots to Barca's xx, are now unbeaten in their last 10 games against Spanish sides in European competition (W6 D4), including the last five away from home (W4 D1).

Kostic's game to remember

Kostic started and ended the scoring for Frankfurt, while he also played the key pass before Borre's glorious strike. That made him the first player to score and assist in a single European game against Barcelona at Camp Nou since Juninho Pernambucano for Lyon in March 2009 in the Champions League.

Barca's spot-kick woes continue 

Garcia's early penalty concession was Barca's fourth in their last two games – as many as in their previous 55 matches in all competitions. Indeed, Kostic's penalty was the earliest conceded by the Catalan giants in all competitions since the 2004-05 season. 

What's next?

Barca will need to lift themselves when they host Cadiz in LaLiga on Monday, while a buoyant Frankfurt visit Union Berlin in the Bundesliga a day earlier. 

Christopher Nkunku scored twice in Bergamo as RB Leipzig's 2-0 win over Atalanta carried the in-form Bundesliga side through to the Europa League semi-finals.

The France striker was on hand to tuck home an early chance, a predator's goal, and his late penalty sealed a 3-1 aggregate triumph, raising the possibility of Leipzig lifting a first European trophy in their history.

Head coach Domenico Tedesco has transformed Leipzig's fortunes since replacing Jesse Marsch in December and the German visitors had too much for their Italian hosts here.

After seven goals in the Champions League this season, Nkunku now has three in this competition. Two years after a Champions League semi-final defeat to Paris Saint-Germain, the German outfit are back at the business end of a European campaign.

Atalanta's Davide Zappacosta drew a decent early save from Leipzig captain Peter Gulacsi, who got down well to block a low shot at his near post.

Leipzig then took the all-important 18th-minute lead when Konrad Laimer was allowed to run 50 yards unchallenged along the right flank and into the Atalanta penalty area, before cutting back for Nkunku to smash in off the right post from close range.

Dani Olmo had a chip comfortably caught by Juan Musso as Leipzig sought a second goal, while at the other end a low shot from Jeremie Boga was blocked.

Atalanta wanted a penalty early in the second half when Ruslan Malinovskiy's powerful free-kick hit Olmo on the arm, and it looked a credible shout, yet the hosts were denied after a VAR review.

Laimer almost added a second for Leipzig when a rapid counter-attack ended with Musso seemingly making a mess of reading his defenders' intentions, having to scramble to keep the lead down to one goal.

Nkunku was sharp for Leipzig and wriggled through to create a chance for himself as Musso blocked at the cost of a corner. As Atalanta became increasingly desperate, a foul by Musso on Nkunku gave the striker a chance to finish the tie, which he took by firing high into the left corner.

Julio Cesar has backed his former manager Jose Mourinho to become the first coach to lift the Europa Conference League trophy, adding to his substantial European legacy.

Mourinho leads his Roma side into their quarter-final second leg against Bodo/Glimt on Thursday, looking to recover from a 2-1 first-leg loss in Norway.

Cesar played under Mourinho while at Inter, winning a historic treble in the 2009-10 season consisting of the Serie A title, Coppa Italia, and the Champions League.

The Portuguese coach has won four European trophies during his career, two Champions Leagues (Porto 2003-04, Inter 2009-10) and two UEFA Cup/Europa Leagues (Porto 2002-03, Manchester United 2016-17).

Speaking with Stats Perform courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Cesar praised Mourinho and his ability to lift major European trophies.

"Mourinho is for me a special manager," he said. "I was at Inter when he joined us, and we lived moments of joy. I really think highly of him. I support him always.

"I think AS Roma appointed the right manager. He is really passionate. He's got determination. He has already won the Europa League with Porto and Manchester United. He knows this competition well, and the Champions League. He knows how to play in Europe, in this kind of competition. He is used to lifting trophies."

The former Brazil goalkeeper also spoke highly of Roma, admitting that he would have liked to have played for the Giallorossi to experience the support of their fans, whom he compared to those of one of his former clubs, Brazilian outfit Flamengo.

"AS Roma are a team for the people," he said. "As a former player, I would like to play just one time for AS Roma, listening to their supporters. They are supporters similar to Flamengo."

Cesar also said the motivation to be the winner of the inaugural edition of the Conference League will drive Mourinho to succeed this season.

"It's the first edition of the Conference League. It can be a new trophy for him." Cesar added. "He's someone who loves to win the first edition of a competition. It would be a nice thing for him.

"He would be the first to win the European treble; Conference League, Europa League and Champions League. He's someone like that. It is what is pushing him, trying to win the three cups in Europe."

The 42-year-old also believes the Conference League has improved fans' experience of European football, allowing people to watch teams they would not normally see, and giving smaller clubs experience of high-profile European games.

"Today we can see many clubs playing in Europe that we didn't know before," Cesar added. "Only people crazy about football follow every league. It doesn't work like that for everybody. We can get to know new squads and managers thanks to Conference League. I think it's been a positive thing for football.

"Every player dreams to play in European competitions. UEFA did something nice to organise this new competition. It's important for football. For supporters who did not expect to see their team playing in Europe, I think this idea arrived in the right time.

"It's a nice thing for supporters [of small clubs] following their team away to play against Roma or Tottenham... [The players] play in clubs that are able to play in nice stadiums and atmospheres [thanks to the Conference League]."

Thursday also sees the Europa League quarter-finals draw to a close, and Cesar said the last eight of that competition is a level playing field, with surprises "always possible".

"We know when a team is better than another in today's football," he said. "However, all teams are level in the quarter-finals. It's still possible to see some surprises. It's always possible, this is football. Football is passion."

On which team he thinks are favourites to win the Europa League, Cesar added: "I think Barcelona is a team to respect, considering their history and tradition."

Xavi has claimed the Champions League achievements of Real Madrid and Villarreal show the strength of LaLiga is close to that of the Premier League.

Madrid overcame English side and defending European champions Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday to reach the Champions League semi-finals, despite losing 3-2 on the night, while Villarreal shocked Bayern Munich 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena to also advance.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Barcelona's own European quarter-final second leg in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt, Xavi questioned what he believes to be the consensus that the Premier League is a "much higher level" compared to Spain.

"Yesterday, I thought LaLiga isn't that far off from the Premier League," the Blaugrana head coach said. "There is this debate about the Premier League being a much higher level than LaLiga. We have two Spanish clubs in the semi-finals.

"People say it is not difficult to play in LaLiga, but the Premier League isn't far from LaLiga."

Despite being eliminated from the group stage of the Champions League earlier this season, the Barca boss expressed excitement at competing in the Europa League, though he insisted the club wants to be back in Europe's premier competition as soon as possible.

"It's not quite as highly rated as the Champions League but it's a European title which we're excited to play for," he said. "The team is motivated and ready.

"We're working to get back into the Champions League. Yesterday we had to watch from home and that was painful for us, but we must use it to motivate us to be back there."

Barca centre back Eric Garcia also spoke to the media on Wednesday, and compared Xavi to club legend Pep Guardiola, who Garcia previously played for at Manchester City.

When asked about the influence of Xavi since his arrival in November, Garcia said: "He is showing us a lot with the ball and our distribution.

"Him and Pep are quite similar in this way. Xavi is very close to the players, he talks a lot with you and gives you advice, which is very important to the players.

"It's a shame we have only had a few months with him, but there is a lot of hope for the future ahead of us with him."

Xavi acknowledged his "respect" for Robert Lewandowski but offered little more on the Bayern Munich striker ahead of a key European game for Barcelona.

Lewandowski has scored 47 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season and won The Best FIFA Men's Player award in January.

Bayern were surprisingly eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday, despite Lewandowski finding the net against Villarreal, who won 2-1 on aggregate.

Oliver Kahn, the Bayern chief executive, said ahead of that second leg the club "definitely" would not sell Lewandowski, who has a year remaining on his contract.

But the former Borussia Dortmund man has been linked with a move to Camp Nou at the end of the season.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Barca's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt, Xavi said: "It is not the moment to talk about Lewandowski.

"I respect him a lot as a player, but we focus on tomorrow's match and not potential signings. I will not say anything else about it."

The Blaugrana drew 1-1 in Germany in last week's first leg, where Xavi was unhappy with the length of the grass at the Waldstadion, but he is confident at Camp Nou his players will be able to utilise their possession-based football.

"It's true the pitch wasn't 100 per cent. It is important tomorrow the pitch is good. It should help us improve retention of the ball," Xavi said.

Barca have not lost in 15 games in all competitions, winning 11 of those, and the arrival of Xavi in November has seen the team restore some pride after a dreadful start to the campaign that included elimination from the Champions League group stages for the first time in over two decades.

Despite this form, Xavi declared his coaching job as the "most difficult" in the world, believing the pressure to win as well as play good football makes the Barca role the toughest in football.

"We have an obligation to win and play well," he said. "Imagine what it's like to be at Barca. All week there has been debate about the weekend when we won in the 90th minute [against Levante]. That's what it's like being in Barca. We need to be excellent in everything we do.

"That's why it's the most difficult club in the world. There is nothing to compare it to. In no other country is there a more difficult job.

"We have to win while playing well and that's difficult. Very difficult. It's the most complicated club in the world, I am sure of it."

Xavi called on Barcelona fans to make Camp Nou "a pressure cooker" after they drew 1-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Ansgar Knauff gave Eintracht the lead with a fine finish early in the second half at a raucous Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday, but Ferran Torres equalised after a brilliant exchange with Frenkie de Jong. 

The Bundesliga side saw Tuta sent off with just over 10 minutes remaining following a second bookable offence, but Barca were unable to pinch a winner in the closing stages. 

However, by avoiding defeat their unbeaten run stretched to 14 games – their best streak since January-May 2019 under Ernesto Valverde. 

Barca had almost two-thirds of the possession but mustered fewer than half the attempts on goal of Eintracht, who were a persistent threat on the counter-attack. 

Xavi felt his team were hindered by the state of the pitch and hopes a fiery atmosphere in Catalonia in next Thursday's second leg can help the Blaugrana advance to the semi-finals. 

"They were a very physical opponent. They got forward like hell in transitions. We didn't have the ball circulation and the state of the pitch didn't help us," Xavi told Movistar. 

"We leave quite satisfied and Camp Nou will have to be a pressure cooker, like it was in their stadium. 

"Normally the team that's in control creates more, but we were not able to stop their devilish counter-attacks. We had already been warned – they eliminated a team like [Real] Betis [in the last 16]." 

Gerard Pique hobbled off in the first half with an apparent groin injury but Xavi was unable to provide a meaningful update on the centre-back. 

Sergio Busquets, who would have given a penalty away for a tackle on Rafael Borre had it not been for VAR, acknowledged Barca will need to be better in the second leg. 

"The goal gives us a lot of life because we had come to win but it was very difficult," said Busquets. 

"There are things to improve. We will do better in the second leg with our fans and a pitch that will surely be better and faster. 

"Barca are always a candidate to win everything. We had a period that wasn't the best but we're doing things well. 

"We respect all the teams. Anything can happen and we will try to win." 

Barca have progressed in three of the five knockout rounds in Europe's secondary competition after drawing the first leg away from home. They were eliminated in the last such instance by Bayern Munich in the 1995-96 season. 

Tanguy Ndombele was on target as Lyon held 10-man West Ham United to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Ndombele – on loan from Tottenham – opened his account for the Ligue 1 side; equalising midway through the second half at the London Stadium on Thursday.

Jarrod Bowen had broken the deadlock early in the second half as David Moyes' side capitalised on sloppy defending by the visitors.

The Hammers played the entire second period with 10 men after Aaron Cresswell was controversially shown a straight red card just before the break.

Unbeaten in six European matches against English opposition, including their elimination of Manchester City in the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals, Lyon had the first sight on goal after 10 minutes.

The in-form Moussa Dembele lost Declan Rice at the near post, but was unable to direct Lucas Paqueta's inviting cross towards the target.

Said Benrahma latched onto Craig Dawson's long ball over the top of the defence at the other end before he was denied by Antony Lopes from a tight angle.

The Hammers suffered a big blow when they were reduced to 10 men just before half-time; Cresswell shown a straight red card after dragging back Dembele when he was deemed to be the last defender.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts took the lead seven minutes after the restart. Pablo Fornals won possession high up the field and after a couple of fortunate ricochets, Bowen's goal=bound effort deflected up and over Lopes via Jerome Boateng.

Lyon responded 14 minutes later as Ndombele tucked away after the Hammers failed to deal with Tete’s initial cross – leaving the tie finely poised heading into the second leg at the Groupama Stadium next week.

Braga will take a slender 1-0 lead into next week's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Rangers thanks to Abel Ruiz's strike in Thursday's tie.

The hosts had already hit the post through Ricardo Horta and had an Andre Horta strike ruled out when Abel Ruiz fired them ahead shortly before half-time.

Rangers eliminated Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade to make it this far but could not register a shot on target at Estadio Municipal de Braga.

The sides meet again at Ibrox in a week's time, with the winners of this tie to face either RB Leipzig or Atalanta in the semi-finals.

After a slow start to the contest, Braga came to life in the 25th minute when captain Ricardo Horta's side-footed shot from 12 yards came back off the post.

Braga thought they had taken the lead two minutes later when Andre Horta fired in a deflected shot, only for the goal to be chalked off for Fabinho's rash challenge on Ryan Jack.

But Abel Ruiz's powerful shot past Allan McGregor, making his 100th European appearance for Rangers, was allowed to stand five minutes before half-time.

The introduction of Joe Aribo and Kemar Roofe shortly after the hour mark injected some urgency into the Gers' play.

Braga's goal did not come under any serious threat, though, with Connor Goldson's wayward header the closest Rangers went to scoring.

Ferran Torres rescued a 1-1 draw for Barcelona in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Eintracht Frankfurt, who finished with 10 men.

After a goalless first half at Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday, Ansgar Knauff sent the home fans into raptures with a wonderful finish from 20 yards out. 

Xavi sent Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele on in response and the pair started a lovely move that ended with Torres slotting an equaliser into the bottom-left corner. 

And although Tuta was shown a second yellow card with just over 10 minutes remaining, Barca were unable to complete a dramatic late turnaround to snatch the victory.

Kevin Trapp's fingertip save kept Torres at bay in the third minute and Djibril Sow failed to hit the target from a great opening at the other end. 

Barca dominated possession but Trapp denied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and they lost Gerard Pique to an apparent groin injury – Clement Lenglet replacing him in the 23rd minute. 

Eintracht were awarded a penalty shortly before half-time but upon reviewing video footage, referee Srdjan Jovanovic deemed Sergio Busquets had won the ball in his challenge on Rafael Borre. 

The hosts took the lead just three minutes after the restart, though, as Knauff curled a great strike into the top-right corner from the edge of the box following a corner. 

Jesper Lindstrom missed a brilliant chance to double Eintracht's lead 90 seconds later and it proved costly when De Jong – who had only been on the pitch for four minutes – teed up Torres to finish off a slick move. 

Tuta was shown a yellow card for a lunge on Pedri in the 78th minute but Barca were unable to make their numerical advantage count in the closing stages. 

What does it mean? Eintracht still in with a shout 

After overcoming Inter en route to the semi-finals in 2018-19, knocking out another of Europe's most prestigious clubs remains a distinct possibility for Eintracht this season. 

Although they were unable to become the first German team other than Bayern Munich to beat Barca in a European game since Bayer Leverkusen in September 2001 – the Blaugrana are now undefeated in 22 such matches – they will still fancy their chances at Camp Nou. 

Barca struggle to weather Lindstrom 

He may have missed a great chance early in the second half, but Lindstrom was a real thorn in the side of Barca with his electric pace. He supplied four key passes – more than any other player on the pitch – before being replaced in the 73rd minute. 

Aubameyang comes up short 

He has made a strong start to life at Barca but Aubameyang was far from his best in Germany. He only had one attempt on goal across the 90 minutes and completed fewer than half of his passes. 

What's next? 

Barca travel to Levante in LaLiga on Sunday before hosting the second leg next week, while Eintracht are in Bundesliga action at home to Freiburg. 

RB Leipzig and Atalanta shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday to set up a winner-takes-all decider in Bergamo.

Domenico Tedesco's Bundesliga side made it 10 games unbeaten across all competitions with a 4-1 thumping of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday but found themselves behind at the Red Bull Arena when Luis Muriel struck after 17 minutes.

Gian Piero Gasperini's visitors thought they had escaped lightly when Andre Silva saw his penalty saved by Juan Musso after the break, but Davide Zappacosta miscued into his own goal to restore parity.

Neither team could find a late winner, with Teun Koopmeiners and Dominik Szoboszlai denied by the woodwork, which leaves it all to play for in the return leg next Thursday.

Christopher Nkunku skewed a half-chance wide from Benjamin Henrichs' mishit strike in an otherwise uneventful opening to the contest.

But Muriel sparked the tie into life when he ghosted inside from the left flank before expertly whipping into the top-right corner for his fourth goal in European competition this season, his best tally.

Muriel almost repeated the trick shortly after but his left-footed drive narrowly evaded the far corner, before the woodwork denied Silva and Mario Pasalic at either end.

Peter Gulacsi pushed away a teasing Muriel curler from range after the interval, before Merih Demiral needlessly felled Nkunku inside the area.

Musso denied Silva's spot-kick before an excellent reflex save thwarted Willi Orban on the rebound, but Leipzig equalised moments later when Zappacosta inadvertently turned Angelino's cross into his own net.

Gulacsi then tipped a low Koopmeiners effort onto the post and Szoboszlai headed onto the crossbar, while Lukas Klostermann saw a late strike denied on the line following a goalmouth scramble from Emil Forsberg's corner as neither side could be separated.

Xavi has reiterated his admiration for Ousmane Dembele's professionalism as the Barcelona boss confirmed negotiations over a new contract for the winger were under way.

Dembele was told publicly to leave Barca by the club during the January transfer window, after contract talks broke down.

The France international's current deal runs out at the end of the season, meaning he will be able to leave Camp Nou on a free transfer.

However, with no move having materialised before the end of January, Dembele has been reintegrated into Xavi's squad and seems to have rediscovered his form.

Dembele has started Barca's last four LaLiga matches, providing five assists across those appearances.

The 24-year-old also scored and teed up two other goals as a substitute in a 4-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the end of February.

On Tuesday, with Barca's squad given a day off ahead of travelling to Germany for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Eintracht Frankfurt, Dembele was spotted going to the club's training ground, with reports stating that he did extra physical work.

"He's an example in the way he trains, the way he plays, his attitude and commitment," Xavi told a news conference when asked about Dembele. 

"I don't know how he was before but I've got no complaints. I see a very happy, very motivated player and with his winning attitude.

"He's happy and comfortable here and so that's not a surprise that he trained on his day off. He's a great professional, I said that when he wasn't playing as well."

Dembele created seven chances in Barca's win over Sevilla on Sunday, also providing the pass for Pedri's goal in a 1-0 victory.

Earlier this week, Barca executive Mateu Alemany reportedly met with Dembele's agent to restart negotiations over a new deal, and this speculation was confirmed by Xavi.

"It is a negotiation. We are also in talks with Ronald [Araujo], Gavi, Sergi Roberto, it is a process," he said.

"The club knows my priorities and we are working. Hopefully Dembele can stay, with work he can be the best in his position.

"The club is working hard and I hope they decide to stay. Gavi, Araujo, Dembele... if we can have them next year we'll be a better team and squad."

Xavi was equally as effusive in his praise for Araujo, who he revealed has agreed to fresh terms.

"For us he is a guarantee and Barcelona have a central defender for ten years or more," Xavi said.

"There are few central defenders in the world like him. He has been the key in the negotiation. He is very humble, direct, he is a luxury.

"I am delighted. As a person he is a hard worker. Barcelona fans can be proud that he has decided to stay at Barcelona."

Pedri is among the best players in world football, so says his Barcelona club-mate Ferran Torres.

Barca midfielder Pedri is enjoying another fine season after his breakout campaign at Camp Nou in 2020-21.

Though the early part of his season was hindered by injury, Pedri has emerged as a crucial figure as Xavi has rejuvenated Barca since taking over from Ronald Koeman.

Having missed the final three months of 2021, Pedri's 2022 has been brilliant so far, and he scored an exquisite goal against Sevilla in a 1-0 LaLiga win on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Spain international also netted against Galatasaray to help Barca progress to the Europa League quarter-finals, with Eintracht Frankfurt next up.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's clash in Germany, Torres said that is a "luxury" to play alongside such a talent.

"It doesn't surprise us," Torres told a news conference when asked about Pedri's form.

"Seeing him every day is a luxury, he has great quality and how he's handling it, with humility."

Torres also spoke glowingly of coach Xavi, whose team are unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions and are now up to second in LaLiga.

"Xavi has transmitted his confidence to me from the first day. I'm in good shape and helping the team," the former Manchester City forward added.

Barca are facing Frankurt for the first time in their history. The Bundesliga club have never lost at home in major European competition in the quarter-finals and beyond (P16 W12 D4 L0) – this is the most such games any side has ever played in major European competition without being defeated.

And Torres insisted overconfidence will be no issue.

"The coach makes it clear to us that we have to go game by game because if you lose tomorrow, nobody remembers the dynamic. Humility, work and desire to achieve victory," he said.

"It is the first step to fight for that Europa League and we will do everything on our part to achieve it."

Barcelona can begin to plot their route to the Europa League final after learning which teams stand in the way of them reaching the Seville showpiece.

Xavi's side must tackle Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals, before the winner of that tie goes on to tackle West Ham or Lyon in the semi-finals.

This competition represents the last realistic chance for Barcelona to finish the season with silverware, given they are out of the Copa del Rey and trail Real Madrid by 15 points in LaLiga.

Head coach Xavi was appointed in November, succeeding Ronald Koeman, and his side edged past Galatasaray at the last-16 stage as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pedri earned a 2-1 second-leg win in Istanbul following a goalless first leg.

Eintracht booked their last-eight place by getting the better of another Spanish side, Real Betis, on Thursday. It took an own goal in the 120th minute from Guido Rodriguez to secure a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate success for Eintracht, who won the UEFA Cup in 1980 but cannot match Barcelona's European heritage.

Barcelona have won the European Cup or Champions League five times, but they have never lifted the trophy in the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

The clash of West Ham and Lyon promises to be a gripping tie between English and French rivals, while RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga will take on Serie A's Atalanta.

Scottish giants Rangers, who have knocked out Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade in the previous two rounds, will face Portuguese side Braga.

The quarter-final ties will be played over two legs, on April 7 and 14, with the semi-finals on April 28 and May 5. The Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stages the final on May 18.

Europa League quarter-final draw

RB Leipzig v Atalanta

Eintracht Frankfurt v Barcelona

West Ham v Lyon

Braga v Rangers

Semi-final draw

RB Leipzig/Atalanta v Braga/Rangers

West Ham/Lyon v Eintracht Frankfurt/Barcelona

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.