A leisurely stroll along the romantic embankments of the River Seine in Paris seemed like the ideal prelude to one of the most difficult jobs of Kevin Trapp’s career as he gets ready to face West Ham in the Europa League semi-finals.
After four years of playing for Paris Saint-Germain, every trip to the French capital feels like coming home for the 31-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper. Several paparazzi took advantage of the opportunity to photograph Trapp and his fiancee Izabel Goulart, who may be accustomed to not always being completely alone when walking hand in hand in Paris.
The atmosphere in the stadium of Premier League side West Ham United on Thursday will not be nearly as pleasant as it was in Paris.
Trapp feels that the Europa League semi-final duel is one of the toughest jobs in football, as the entire club prepares for “something harder than the games against Barcelona”, summarised by the club’s board member Philip Holzer.
The surprising quarter-final victory over the Spanish giants might have created additional self-confidence for Frankfurt, but it needs to be seen as the past from Trapp’s perspective.
The coup might have shown Eintracht what the team is capable of, but in the United Kingdom, things start from zero.
Other than in Barcelona, when 30,000 German fans managed to turn the encounter into a home game atmosphere, the London club announced plans to limit the number of away fans, referring to official rules.
This time, Frankfurt will have only 3,000 supporters behind them. “In Barcelona, it felt like Frankfurt. This time, it’s on us as a team,” Trapp said.
Trapp is aware that he has a vital role in achieving a satisfying result ahead of the second leg in Frankfurt, reports Xinhua.
There is nothing to worry about from his perspective, “but West Ham might be harder than Barcelona.”
Trapp has gained solid continental experience after four years in Paris. In the current Bundesliga season, Trapp has turned into one of the league’s best.
Before thinking about a possible final, two challenging games await Frankfurt.
Winning the Europa League might be Frankfurt’s last chance to participate in Europe again next season, with the tournament victors qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Trapp and his teammates are still standing firm as the club’s journey continues. After years of poor results in the Europa League for German clubs, Frankfurt have discovered the competition as a means of achieving success.
Trapp is determined to go all the way this time, unlike in 2019, when Eintracht narrowly lost on penalties to Chelsea in the semifinals.
(Inputs from IANS)