"We're really up for playing on the biggest European stage," the Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper tells UEFA.com, with the UEFA Super Cup showdown against Real Madrid heralding his team's first UEFA Champions League campaign.
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When he left Eintracht Frankfurt for Paris Saint-Germain in 2015, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp may have thought his career was hitting its peak. The goalkeeper went on to win two French titles with a team that were regularly competing in the UEFA Champions League, but he topped those triumphs last season – and back at his old club too.
Having returned to Frankfurt (initially on loan) in 2018, the 32-year-old was a star performer as the Eagles beat Rangers on penalties to win the UEFA Europa League. The first continental title of Trapp's career, it also earned his side the right to play UEFA Champions League football this season, and to take on Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in Helsinki. The unlikely oat-milk tycoon spoke to UEFA.com about the season ahead.
Are you excited about the prospect of facing Real Madrid?
I feel nothing but joy at having the chance to play against such a team. [Being able to win a title this] early in the season against such a renowned team – it doesn't get any better than that. And when you get to compete with a team that has won the Champions League 14 times, that's as high as you can get.
Did you think at the start of your career that you would be where you are today?
Back when I went to Kaiserslautern, it was all very far away. Of course, I had ideas in my head about what level I wanted to reach and where I wanted to play, but as I said, it was all so far in the future.
How did your experience in Paris change you?
I came from a mid-table club that had not really competed for the title to one which wanted to win the Champions League. I was confident enough; otherwise, I'd not have done it. But I'd say in retrospect, with the experience I have today, that I was lacking one or two aspects of my personality at the start to feel as at ease there as I did at the end.
All these things that I learned abroad: a new language, how to integrate yourself with new players. I took all this to Frankfurt and can appreciate much more how it is when players come here from another country.
How pleased are you to be playing in the Champions League again?
Very! Especially because it's a bit more special because we're playing in the Champions League for the first time in the club's history. It's pure joy, and you just notice the mood in the area, in the club and in the team.
We're not standing in awe of it now and thinking, 'Wow, we're in the Champions League; it's going to be difficult.' We're really up for playing on the biggest European stage at club level and testing ourselves against the other teams.
Was your save from Ryan Kent in the Europa League final one of your best-ever stops?
I don't know if it was my best save, but maybe one of the most important ones. You know there is no second leg to turn the result around. It's only that one game and afterwards it's over. Either you go home with the trophy or you go home with some pats on the back.
How did you feel when Rafael Borré scored the winning penalty in the final?
As Rafael stood there, I gave him the ball and said to him, 'Make history!' I'm not even sure if he understood or if I said it loud enough for him to hear me. When he scored, [I got] goose bumps. It took me a couple of seconds to realise that we had actually done it.
Last question: Why did you get into the oat-milk business?
It started during the [COVID-19] pandemic. Two of my business partners were already in gastronomy and had a lot of expertise, and the fourth business partner was already working in the distribution of drinks. That's how it came to be.
For me, it was never a case of, 'OK, I want to work in the oat-milk business now,' but rather about the business behind it. How do you start a business? What do you need? How do you grow as a business? But, of course, we also wanted to have a great product that we could put on the market that doesn't exist in that way yet.