Aberdeen gave themselves a pre-Hampden boost by shocking Eintracht Frankfurt in a 2-0 victory at Pittodrie.
Goals from Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes and Ester Sokler gave the Dons their first win in the Europa Conference League as they finished Group G in third place on six points.
Duk slid in to score from close range just before the interval and Sokler sent a stunning lob past substitute keeper Jens Grahl with 15 minutes to go to net his second goal for the club.
The win stretched Aberdeen’s unbeaten home run against German sides in European competition to 10 matches and will send Barry Robson’s side into Sunday’s Viaplay Cup final against Rangers on a high.
With Sunday in mind, Robson made eight changes to the side that had beaten Hearts at the weekend, with only Kelle Roos, Stefan Gartenmann and young defender Jack Milne keeping their places. There was no place in the squad for Bojan Miovski, who has been suffering from a minor hamstring complaint this week.
Rangers’ 2021 Europa League final conquerors could not finish any higher or lower than second and they made seven changes from the side which beat Bayern Munich 5-1 at the weekend. Japanese midfielder Makoto Hasebe, who turns 40 next month, captained the visitors.
Frankfurt were keen to show their quality and striker Jessic Ngankam warmed the gloves of Roos as early as the third minute. The same man fired wide after 15 minutes, and then his headed pass for Niels Nkounkou gave the defender a shot at goal which was deflected wide for a corner.
Aberdeen’s European campaign has been characterised by a strong defensive shape and effective counter-attacks, and it was 35 minutes before their first real opening, as James McGarry found space to cross from the left, the ball nodded away from the onrushing Milne at the back post.
That sparked a prolonged spell of pressure, but Frankfurt almost hit on a counter of their own, as Jens Petter Hauge strode away only to see his angled drive parried away by Roos.
Aberdeen were emboldened by their earlier foray forward though and took the lead in the 41st minute. Duk sent Shayden Morris clear on the right, continued his run to meet the latter’s low cross, and turned the ball past Kevin Trapp.
The Dons defended well in the second half. Roos saved from Paxton Aaronson and Richard Jensen got an important foot in to block from Ansgar Knauff.
Just minutes later, Dante Polvara’s pass set sub Sokler in behind the visitors’ defence, and the Slovenian buried a superb shot past Grahl, who had replaced the injured Trapp at the interval.