Frankfurt look like the best bet for Europa League success.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best online sportsbook sites the German contenders are the strong favorites going into this final. Eintracht Frankfurt are priced at around +130 with most sportsbooks, while their Scottish challengers' Rangers can be backed at +210 and the normal time draw is around +230.
|Europa League Final|
How They Got to the Final
Eintracht Frankfurt went undefeated through their first-round group and thereby avoiding the knockout round playoffs. They had to fight hard to go past Real Betis in the Round of 16, but their biggest success came in the quarter-finals against tournament favorites Barcelona.
The Catalan giants drew 1-1 in Frankfurt but were defeated in the return leg at Camp Nou, when they conceded three goals without reply. Frankfurt won the game 3-2 and went on to face Premier League West Ham in the Final, which they won owing to a key away leg victory.
Despite being the Scottish champions, Rangers were not considered a good prospect to advance past the first round of the competition. They finished second in their group, one point ahead of Sparta Prague, but they surprised most pundits by upsetting German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund over two legs in the playoffs.
They beat Red Star Belgrade 4-2 in the Round of 16 before beating Braga in extra time in the quarter-finals. They followed up this success by coming back from a 1-0 first-leg deficit against RB Leipzig to win 3-1 at Ibrox and reach their first European final since 2008.
European Records for Rangers and Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt will be competing in only their second European final. However, their first appearance resulted in a win. That happened in 1980 when they defeated Borussia Monchengladbach to win the UEFA Cup on the away goals rule.
Rangers, on the other hand, have appeared in four European finals but have only won one, the old Cup Cup Winners’ Cup, which was held for winners of European domestic cup competitions in 1972. Their most recent European final appearance was a 2-0 defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in the old UEFA Cup, which has been superseded by this tournament.
The lone meeting between these two sides in European football occurred in 1960 when they were paired together in the European Cup semi-finals. Frankfurt won the tie 12-4 on aggregate, but they were defeated in the Final by a renowned Real Madrid team led by Ferenc Puskas.
Picking the Europa League Winners
Despite their achievements thus far in the season, Rangers will be the clear underdogs in this game, although that may work in their favor as they can play without the added pressure of expectation. It's also fair to say that they have some truly world-class talent on their roster, not least captain and right-back James Tavernier, who leads the competition in scoring with seven goals.
Still, due to his defensive responsibilities, Tavernier's goal production may be limited in this game. He'll face Frankfurt's left-sided forward Filip Kostic, who has seven assists this season and whose performance against Barcelona was important to the German side's progress. He has the potential to both create game-winning opportunities and to keep Tavernier quiet.
Both teams will also be dealing with significant injury concerns going into this game, which is to be expected after such a long season. Rangers will be without key scorer Alfredo Morales, while Frankfurt will be without five first-team players, including key defensive stars.
Rangers are in better form than the Bundesliga side going into this match, but their domestic football is significantly less challenging. Importantly, because this game will be played at a neutral venue, the Scots will not be able to rely on Ibrox's intimidating atmosphere, yet their opponents have shown that they can generate plenty of noise away from home, as they did against Barcelona.
It promises to be an exciting match, but I feel Frankfurt is the superior team of the two and will win in a high-scoring final.
Other Europa League Markets
Last year's Europa League Final between Villarreal and Manchester United was exceptionally low-scoring, given that the previous seven finals had averaged 3.25 goals per game.
It's also worth noting that neither of these sides has been very defensive during the tournament, so this seems like a nice opportunity to bet the Over in the Over/Under 2.5 goals market for the Seville showpiece.