Frankfurt is my home, Eintracht is my club—but it’s more than just a club. It’s where I learned about unconditional love.
Even if you are not into football, please hear me out.
This is not about sports. It’s about love, passion, and a collective experience that is an essential part of my life.
When we think about European football fans, many of us think about drunken guys, violence, and toxic tribal behavior. But today, I want to offer another perspective.
I want to tell you the story about commitment, community, and collective craziness.
When I was a child, I watched football with my friends just like any other kid in Germany. My parents didn’t like football. They actually both hated it. I wanted to go to the stadium and kept annoying them about it.
And then it happened.
Someone who worked for my dad took me to the stadium in Frankfurt. It was a sunny day in November 1995. Eintracht Frankfurt was playing against the most successful team in Germany (FC Bayern München). My dad’s friend had already briefed me to expect a devastating loss.
But that didn’t happen. Frankfurt won that game, and I witnessed a crowd of 60,000 people collectively losing their minds. I was hooked.
A year later, another friend of my dad, who I refer to as “Uncle Günther,” took me to an away game. He was never a fan of Frankfurt. It was a birthday gift. And I am still more than thankful for his support. Thanks, Uncle Günther!
The away game wasn’t that special. It ended with a draw. But Frankfurt scored the 1:1 in the last minute—and again, the away fans collectively lost their sh*t.
A few years later, I was old enough to go to the stadium with my friends. And that’s where the drama started.
The club almost filed bankruptcy in 2002. They played in the second league. The glorious days of the club were just a distant memory at that time.
But we got our season tickets anyway. It was frustrating.
I remember one specific game in 2003. It was raining. It was cold. Many dudes in our group didn’t go to the game that day. It was one friend and me in an almost empty stadium. The game went to extra-time, and we lost in a penalty kick. Both of us were angry, frustrated, and sad at the same time.
Up to this day, we are still joking that this was the worst game ever.
If anybody had said that Eintracht Frankfurt will make it to the final of the Europa League one day, every expert would have called them crazy.
Well, we chanted exactly that for 20 years. We always believed in it. As a yogi, I would say we manifested it.
Every football fan in Germany always laughed about the optimism of Frankfurt fans. It is a typical thing for this city. If we win the first game of the season, everyone speaks about the championship—it’s crazy, but that’s our spirit.
But my generation always kind of felt like a lost generation. My brother-in-law told me stories about Frankfurt winning the Europa League in 1980. Old men told us stories about winning the German championship in 1959.
And us? We witnessed three relegations to the second league, talks of bankruptcy, and our biggest success was losing a cup final in 2006. What a sh*t show.
Being a fan of a team that actually sucks became part of our identity. Every little success was celebrated, like winning the world cup. Every little glimpse of hope led to fantasies of becoming one of the big European clubs again.
When I was living in Costa Rica, the team had a few really good years. Actually, the best years since I started supporting them. I remember watching Frankfurt win the German Cup in a shaky livestream with my dog.
I remember watching them qualifying for the semi-final of the Europa League in 2019. I travelled all the way from Costa Rica to Germany for the semi-final—and we lost the game in the most dramatic way possible against the team of one of my favorite author’s on Elephant Journal.
Maybe that was our chance, and we missed it?
And here we are: it’s 2022.
Our club legend, Jürgen Grabowski, who won the European Cup for us in 1980, died earlier this year—and we get the chance to win it for the first time in 42 years. You can’t make that sh*t up.
The path to the final was already magic. More than 40,000 fans traveled to Barcelona. Frankfurt shocked every football fan on this planet by winning against the almighty F.C. Barcelona.
— Basti Red™ (@basti_red) April 8, 2022
The semi-final against West Ham United was our chance to make dreams come true. The team won the first leg in London, and the stage was set for a night to remember in Frankfurt.
I will never forget that day. The 5th of May 2022.
The home game against Barcelona was emotional, but May 5th was a night that I will never forget in my life.
I was in tears when we sang our club anthem before the game. My heart was racing. Was this the moment we waited for our entire life? Was this the night we manifested for years?
— UEFA.com DE (@UEFAcom_de) May 17, 2022
And then it happened.
We won. We made it. Collective craziness set in. The images of fans invading the pitch went viral. Friends from all around the world messaged me and asked if I was there.
All eyes are on Frankfurt. Who would have expected that in 2002 when the club almost fell apart?
And now, it’s on. We are playing the final against the Glasgow Rangers.
May 5th after the semi final.
Tomorrow is the final.
We are in the final of the Europa League.
Feels like a dream. ?❤️?
— Robert Busch (@RealRobertBusch) May 17, 2022
Our love for Frankfurt got tested again. There were 100,000 fans requesting tickets for the game in Sevilla, Spain. As a season ticket holder, I was optimistic about getting a ticket. But it didn’t happen.
I would have travelled to Spain without a ticket, but it didn’t work out for several reasons. To be honest, I am mad at myself. I wanted to be one of these 50,000 Frankfurt fans travelling to Spain.
I was mad at fans who posted on social media that they got tickets because I felt that I would have deserved to get one of these tickets. And I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.
But that’s when the unconditional love set back in.
I am not mad at anyone who shares this passion for Frankfurt. We are one family. We all feel the same way.
And that’s what makes it so special. It’s an entire city full of people who have a history of supporting this club, no matter how bad things were.
Frankfurt is known to be rough, cold, and dangerous—but it’s also the home of unconditional love.
And I can’t wait to watch the game at our home stadium with 50,000 fans who also didn’t make it to Spain. I can’t wait to feel the feelings. And I am happy for everyone who managed to get tickets.
And even if we lose, I am full of gratitude for a magical season that created moments of joy that I will always carry in my heart.
Whatever happens tonight, we are proud of our team.
Because we are one family.
We are all in this together.
In Sevilla, in Frankfurt, or anywhere else in the world.
And somewhere in heaven, there is a man who watches us celebrating this special day—his name is Jürgen Grabowski.
We are Eintracht Frankfurt.