Eintracht Frankfurt know another win against eliminated Vitória SC will secure their last-32 place for the second successive season.
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Eintracht Frankfurt return home after two successive away fixtures with nine Group F points in the bag knowing that another three against eliminated Vitória SC will secure their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the second successive season.
• The German side reignited their challenge with a comeback 2-1 win at section leaders Arsenal on Matchday 5 thanks to a second-half double from Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada – his first European goals – and are now second in the group, one point behind the English side and two ahead of Standard Liège. Vitória have recovered from a poor start, drawing their last two games after opening with three defeats, but can finish no higher than fourth.
• Eintracht will qualify with a win, or if Standard do not beat Arsenal in Liege. Should they lose and Standard win, the German club will be eliminated, but if they draw and the Belgian side join them and Arsenal on ten points, the top three positions will be determined by goal difference in the direct confrontations between the three teams, then goals scored, then away goals scored. Frankfurt's goal difference in the four games against Arsenal and Standard is already set at -2 (5-7), with Arsenal's currently +6 (8-2) and Standard's -4 (3-7).
• Frankfurt were 1-0 winners against Vitória in Guimaraes on Matchday 2, French defender Evan N'Dicka scoring the only goal in the 36th minute.
• Eintracht's previous meetings with Portuguese clubs both came in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. They lost on away goals in the round of 32 to Porto in 2013/14 (2-2 a, 3-3 h), but won last season's quarter-final by the same method against Benfica, winning 2-0 at home after a 2-4 defeat in Lisbon.
• Vitória's only other European engagements with German opposition ended the club's best ever continental campaign as they lost 5-2 on aggregate to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 1986/87 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final (0-3 a, 2-2 h).
• Frankfurt's 14-match UEFA Europa League adventure in 2018/19 brought memorable knockout phase wins over three teams that had crossed over in mid-season from the UEFA Champions League – Shakhtar Donetsk, Internazionale and Benfica – before they were beaten on penalties in the semi-final by eventual winners Chelsea. That European run was accompanied by a seventh-placed finish in the Bundesliga.
• The 1980 UEFA Cup winners embarked on this UEFA Europa League campaign in the second qualifying round. They comfortably saw off Estonia's Flora and Liechtenstein's Vaduz before having to come from behind to eliminate Strasbourg (0-1 a, 3-0 h) in the play-offs and reach the group stage for the third time. Their first appearance, in 2013/14, also resulted in further progress before that last-32 elimination by Porto.
• Eintracht's overall record in the UEFA Europa League, home and away and including qualifying, is an eye-catching W24 D6 L5. Their home record in the competition is an equally impressive W13 D3 L1, with no defeats until Arsenal visited and beat them on Matchday 1. That 3-0 loss ended the German club's perfect record of six home wins out of six in the group stage but they bounced back by beating Standard 2-1 on Matchday 3.
• Fifth in the Portuguese Liga last season, Vitória qualified for their fifth European campaign this decade and first since 2017/18, when they finished fourth in their UEFA Europa League group.
• Qualifying wins in the summer against Jeunesse Esch, Ventspils and FCSB enabled the Guimaraes club to make a third appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They have yet to make further progress in the competition, however, finishing third in their section on debut in 2013/14. Back in 2005/06 they also finished bottom of their UEFA Cup group.
• Vitória were without a win in 13 UEFA away matches (D3 L10) – a run stretching back to a 1-0 victory at Wisła Kraków in September 2005 – before they defeated Jeunesse 1-0 in this season's second qualifying round. They have yet to win away in ten UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group games (D2 L8), succumbing to defeats in each of the last five.
Links and trivia
• Portuguese international André Silva, currently on loan to Eintracht from AC Milan, started his career with Porto – as did team-mate Gonçalo Paciência.
• Frankfurt striker Bas Dost joined the club this summer from Sporting CP, for whom he struck 93 goals in three seasons – two of them against Vitória in a 5-0 win in Guimaraes at the start of the 2017/18 Liga campaign.
• Eintracht's next victory in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, will be their 18th in the competition, setting a new record for a German club. They are currently level on 17 with Schalke, having played five games fewer.
• Austrian coach Adi Hütter was appointed by Eintracht Frankfurt as the successor to Bayern München-bound Niko Kovač in May 2018, having just led Young Boys to their first Swiss league title in 32 years. He proved a shrewd acquisition, leading Frankfurt into the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League and back into Europe via the Bundesliga. A midfielder who spent seven years with Salzburg, he returned to lead the club to a domestic double in 2014/15 after managerial spells at Altach and Grödig. He then crossed the border to spend the next three seasons in Berne.
• An unexpected sixth-placed finish with Moreirense in the 2018/19 Portuguese Liga – in his only season with the club – earned Ivo Vieira a summer move to a Vitória SC side that finished on the same number of points but one place higher. A native of Madeira, he spent the whole of his playing career on the island with Nacional, which is where he also started his coaching path. Indeed, he did not work in mainland Portugal until May 2016, when he was handed the coaching reins at second-tier Aves. He subsequently took charge of Académica Coimbra and Estoril.