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Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner on his side's UEFA Super Cup meeting with Real Madrid and stepping up to the Champions League – interview

"Having the chance to win a second European trophy is enough of an incentive," the Frankfurt coach tells UEFA.com as he looks forward to taking on Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup match in Helsinki.

Oliver Glasner: "When things are difficult, we don't lose faith"
Oliver Glasner: "When things are difficult, we don't lose faith" Getty Images

Hired as Eintracht Frankfurt coach in May 2021, Oliver Glasner's first year in charge was a dramatic one, his side starting slowly in the league and never really moving out of mid-table – but truly hitting the heights in the UEFA Europa League. Seeing off the likes of Barcelona and West Ham, they capped it all by edging Rangers on penalties in the final to claim their first major title since they won the UEFA Cup in 1980.

With UEFA Champions League football now in prospect, the 47-year-old Austrian is hoping that his side can raise their game this season, starting with a daunting UEFA Super Cup meeting with Real Madrid: the club that beat Frankfurt 7-3 in the 1960 European Cup final in Glasgow. It is a big ask, but as Glasner tells UEFA.com, a challenge tends to bring out the best in his side.

Real Madrid vs Frankfurt: Live coverage
Frankfurt's Richard Kress scores the first goal in the 1960 European Cup final
Frankfurt's Richard Kress scores the first goal in the 1960 European Cup finalPopperfoto via Getty Images

How much are you looking forward to going head-to-head with Carlo Ancelotti?

We're all very much looking forward to facing [Real Madrid]. I don't see it as a head-to-head with Carlo Ancelotti but instead, with Real Madrid, one of the greatest and most illustrious clubs in the history of football, who have won the Champions League five times over the past few years. We want to prepare so that we have every chance of winning the match.

There is a lot of history behind this at Eintracht Frankfurt. It does act as an incentive for the players and for the fans who were in the stadium back then [for the 1960 European Cup final]. I think, for them in particular, it's more of a rematch. But, for us, having the chance to win a second European trophy is enough of an incentive.

Last season, Eintracht didn't win a league match until October. What was going through your head at the time?

It was an exhausting, intensive time for everyone, but being involved in it every day, we knew what the reasons for it were. We needed one or two decisive moments like in our first Europa League game in Antwerp, where we equalised in the 91st minute, or two days later, the Bundesliga win [at Bayern], where we scored the winning goal in the 85th minute.

After an extremely difficult start to the season, we had this belief. We had this sense in the team that the players, the belief and our training meant […] we were capable of extraordinary things. What happened in Munich was confirmation of that.

Every Frankfurt goal on the road to Europa League glory

What are your current team's strengths?

[We have] fantastic character in our squad. Each individual player works for the team. We have a superb spirit in training, in the dressing room and in games. When things are difficult, we don't lose faith but rather give everything for the win right until the last second. I think that is our greatest strength.

What will new signing Mario Götze bring to the team?

I hope that Mario will give us the same thing Randal Kolo Muani will, the same thing Lucas Alario will… I could list all of our new signings. He doesn't have to completely change his game now, but rather combine his strengths with the others.

'Proud' Glasner on Frankfurt glory

How have you enjoyed your first full year at Frankfurt?

I don't like talking about myself because you can't tell that about yourself, but I hope that I've developed. I'm someone who reflects a lot and I've certainly made plenty of mistakes over the last year too. Just as I forgive the players, I hope they'll forgive me too because that's also part of developing.

How will Champions League group stage football help the team?

The better the opponent, the better you have to be yourself because you need to perform at the highest level you can. If you manage that, you can move up to the next level. We have an idea of how we want to play. This will sometimes work well and at other times not as well. There is still lots of potential for us to improve.

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