Eintracht Frankfurt v West Ham United

History is made again as Preview Percy is found speaking in Frank Lampard Junior’s defence. It’s a strange world in which we live to be sure. Oh and some stuff about some small match we have on the continent...

It’s back to Thursday night league action as we visit Eintracht Frankfurt for the semi-final second leg. Kick-off is at 8pm UK time with coverage on BT Sport. Should the scores be level after 90 minutes extra time and possibly penalties will be used to decide the tie – just a reminder once more that the away goals rule has ceased to be and will therefore not be a factor in this one.

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I shall be fairly brief for this one since we covered much of the same territory last week. Much has been made in some quarters of the fact that their Bundesliga 2-0 away defeat to Bayer Leverkusen was played on Monday thus giving us an extra day’s rest over them. Not sure I’d read an awful lot into that to be honest. Looking at the side they put out there were at least four key players rested for this one with another couple withdrawn at half time as they went down to the Aspirin Makers (as nobody calls them).

However, I would look a little closer at the fact that their home form isn’t what you might call spectacular. They have won just the once – a 2-1 defeat of VFL Bochum, drawn twice and lost three of their last six in the league. Now you might attribute some of that to them concentrating on the Thursday Night League much in the same way as we sent out weakened teams to play Chelsea and Arsenal recently.

However, over the course of the five home games they have played across group and knockout stages in this competition this season they have won just the once, beating Olympiakos 3-1 in the group stages. Otherwise it’s been draws all the way against Fenerbahce, Antwerp, Real Betis and Barcelona. All of these finished 1-1 with the exception of the Antwerp game which ended up 2-2. Now obviously a draw is of no use to us but their overall form in front of their home supporters does suggest that it’s not a “schloss” over there. Which is encouraging.

They have two injury issues. Well technically it’s two but with one of those being a knee injury to reserve ‘keeper Ramaj it’s only one really with full-back Christopher Lenz being sidelined with a toe problem. They will add French defender Ndikia and Croatian midfielder Jakic to the squad, both having been absent for the first leg. I don’t intend to harp on about them to be honest. Useful on the counter as we found out last week but remember only the metalwork prevented us from taking a draw or a lead into this leg so bear that in mind.

Meanwhile in the wild and wacky world of Association Football Frank Lampard Junior has been charged with “attacking the integrity of a match official” for his comment that had Jota’s foul on Gordon happened up the other end it would have been a penalty. Now I’m loath to give any assistance to the obnoxious one but all he really needs to do is get Sky to make a compilation DVD up showing every penalty Liverpool have got this season. There will be enough in there to prove him right.

Frankly the FA would be better served in investigating why Liverpool are allowed to ignore the laws of the game without sanction from the officials rather than shooting messengers all the time. I mean how can you attack the integrity of employees of an organisation that has defended Mike Dean for so many years. Integrity? That was the first thing out of the window once the FA abrogated their FIFA ordained responsibility for match officials and handed it over to a body that sees its role as keeping the gravy train running for its employees irrespective of quality.

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Which brings us to us. You could tell what sort of day it was going to be when the visiting support started chanting midway through the memorial presentation for those Hammers who had passed away over the past six months. One of those was our old mate Chas who detested Arsenal with a vengeance. It’s not hard to see why.

The team reflected the fans, providing anti-football for anti supporters. In their quest they were ably assisted as ever by Dean whose performance lived down to expectations. He failed to punish the Liverpool-inspired tactic of breaking up play with persistent fouling either side of the halfway line, only bringing out the yellow card once Bowen had been hacked town three or four times. There was some irony in seeing Bowen cautioned for avoiding a nasty studs up challenge from Ramsdale that, had Bowen not got out of the way would have see the club’s stock of surgical thread severely depleted.

And as for the time wasting... As a rule of thumb referees are advised to allow about 30 seconds for each substitution – but more if there is deliberate time wasting going on. Let’s be charitable and allow the basic 30 seconds for each sub. That will give you three minutes. So, in the opinion of Mr Dean there was only one minute of play-inspired stoppage in the second half. Yeah right. The only way you would give so little stoppage time in the face of so much deliberate time wasting would be if you actually wanted to prevent all hope of an equaliser. Which is par for the course for this most bent of referees – who lest we forget was once suspended for appearing in adverts for the betting industry.

On the injury front the main concern is that of Ben Johnson whose thigh means that was a doubt, having missed the Arsenal match at the weekend. However Mr Moyes has indicated that he will be available for selection. Diop made a surprise return to the squad as well leaving only Ogbonna on the sidelines. Dawson is available once more having had a well-earned rest thanks to Michael Oliver’s love of all things so-called top six.

Prediction? Well this won’t be one for the faint-hearted. I see us going through but by the finest of margins. I see us leading 2-1 after 90 minutes. After that I am torn between backing us to go through on penalties or to edge a third in the extra half-hour. Having thought about it I am going for us to win without having recourse to kicks from the penalty mark so the £2.50 I saved at the weekend by not betting on a match that Mike Dean was in charge of will instead go on us to win 3-1 AET.

Enjoy the game!

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When last we met at the their place – Lost 2-1

The late Graham Paddon – a phenomenal player by the way for any youngsters out there – put us 1-0 up after 10 minutes with a trademark powerful effort from outside the box. The Germans equalised on the half-hour through Neuberger and took a slender advantage into the second leg when Kraus put them 2-1 up two minutes into the second half. Thus setting up a glorious second leg. Those omens are stacking up I tells ya.

Danger Man: Filip Kostic

Proved a tricky customer in the first leg...

Referee Jesus Gil Manzero (ESP)

Took part in the Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat of Benfica in Lisbon in the So-called Champions League so hopefully he’s an Anglophile. Actually after last weekend I’d just settle for honest.

Percy’s Useful German Phrase

Wie komme ich am besten zu Sevilla bitte?

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