Chelsea are toughest opponents yet, says Frankfurt coach
Eintracht Frankfurt coach Adi Huetter has said that tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) semi-final, first leg against Chelsea will be the toughest challenge yet on his team's Europa League journey this season.
Frankfurt have knocked out the likes of Marseille, Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and Benfica on their way to a first European semi-final in nearly 40 years, but Huetter said yesterday that Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea were a "class above" such opponents.
"They are favourites, no doubt about it. We need to do everything right, and play bravely and positively," said Huetter.
The Frankfurt coach said he had a plan to deal with Chelsea, and identified Belgian star Eden Hazard as the biggest threat.
"We will have to try and play him out of the game, because he is one of the three best wingers in the world," said Huetter, 49.
"Chelsea move unbelievably fast in both directions, so we will have to think quickly. We need to suffer, to throw ourselves into tackles and to stay compact.
"We have always been brave in every game... We are convinced we can get through... Against Chelsea, you don't need any extra motivation."
Frankfurt, who will be without midfielder Ante Rebic (suspended) and striker Sebastien Haller (injured), have won hearts across Europe with their fearless football and passionate support this season.
"We are like Ajax (Amsterdam) in the Champions League, nobody expected us to be in the semi-finals," said Huetter.
"It has been a long, hard road to get here and the fans have given us incredible support."
Meanwhile, Sarri has challenged Chelsea to secure an upbeat finish to a turbulent season by booking a place in the Champions League, either by winning the Europa League or finishing in the English Premier League's top four.
The Blues sit fourth in the EPL with just two games left.
Urging his players to finish the job, Sarri said: "We are fighting for the top four and in semi-final of the Europa League. We have done a good season.
"Now we need to take two very important targets."
Chelsea will be without Antonio Ruediger who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, after limping off in last Sunday's 1-1 draw at Manchester United. - REUTERS, AFP