There are times in the life of a top athlete when fame can become a serious inconvenience. The peak of public humiliation for Kevin Trapp happened on March 8, 2017, a night of C1’s round of 16 second leg. However, there was nothing to fear from this confrontation on paper. No team in Champions League history had been eliminated by a four-goal margin after winning the first leg. On Valentine’s Day, Paris Saint-Germain beat Barca 4-0 at the Parc des Princes and Trapp spent an evening admiring his partners and driving the Catalans mad.
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But in a crowded Camp Nou, Paris Saint-Germain liquefied despite an impossible mission. Luis Suárez defeated Trapp 1-0 for the first time. Layvin Kurzawa panics in front of Trapp and scores against his camp, 2-0. halftime. Leo Messi beats Trapp from the penalty spot 3-0. Edinson Cavani scores 3-1! But the bad dream continues two minutes before the end of regular time: Neymar finds Trapp’s right corner from a free kick, 4-1. Neymar converts Suárez’s penalty to make it 5-1. And the highlight of the show: Sergi Roberto offers Barça qualification if a ball shoots over Neymar’s defence, 6-1… The horror invites itself into the heads of the Parisians and his goalkeeper finds himself with a tarnished reputation today again and an indelible scar.
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“The problem is that everyone talks to me about itthe interested party explained France football in 2020. A few days ago my partner Filip Kostic came up to me and said: ‘I saw the Barcelona game.’ I asked him: ‘Which one?’ He replied: ‘The 6-1.’ And now you’re starting again. (Smiles.) I told him to stop telling me about it. I’m trying to forget But I learned a lot from this meeting. I lived in Paris for three great years. There’s only one game I’m trying to forget.” This April 14, 2022, Kevin Trapp will no longer be able to escape this past disappointment, he will have to face it with Eintracht Frankfurt, the club where he already played between 2012 and 2015 before embarking on the Paris adventure. But is he really capable of it?
Stamford Bridge, between laughter and tears
To answer this question, we must already understand that Trapp is considered the dressing room of the Frankfurt Eagles. In contrast to his status in Paris, where Unai Emery put him in regular competition with Alphonse Areola (the Parisian Titi notably had played the entire group stage of the 2016-2017 C1 season), Trapp has been a regular at a Bundesliga club for four years used to fighting for Europe. Despite his shoulder injury, which forced him to stay in the infirmary for two and a half months in the middle of the 2018/2019 season, the German was kept by Eintracht. With this invested 10 million euros, the club from the Rhine-Main area was able to stabilize its last bastion for several years.
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Better yet, the following season, Eintracht reached the group stage of the 2018-2019 Europa League, winning all Group H matches along with Lazio, Apollon Limassol and Olympique de Marseille. Trapp will then serve as an anchor thanks to his Champions League experience. Three clubs third in their group in C1 will find themselves at odds with the German team: Shakhtar Donetsk (2-2, 4-1), Inter Milan (0-0, 1-0) and Benfica Lisbon (0-1, 3-0 after extra time). In the semifinals of the competition, Frankfurt stumbled against Chelsea in London (1-1, 1-1), losing 3-4 on penalties. In goal, Trapp saved César Azpilicueta’s penalty to put his side in a strong position, but Martin Hinteregger and Gonçalo Paciencia came under pressure as they qualified for the final. However, Stamford Bridge was a good memory for Trapp, who had beaten Chelsea (2-1) with PSG two seasons earlier.
The international form
Photo credit: Imago
Called up for the German national team at the last rally in March, Trapp is the third-best goalkeeper in his country behind Manuel Neuer and Marc-André Ter Stegen. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to overtake his two eldest in a pre-established hierarchy. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the boy with the looks of the ideal son-in-law had worked in partnership with his club to deliver groceries to the homes of the elderly and needy. Will you be thanked for your good deeds on the pitch? This Thursday evening in Barcelona, Trapp will give a first answer to his ability to overcome the great trauma of his sports career.
At 31, this is likely his last chance to prove he deserves more attention from a German public captivated by Bayern Munich’s prowess in the league and on the European scene. In the Europa League, Trapp has the opportunity to write a happier chapter in his story and that of Eintracht Frankfurt, the hapless C1 finalists from 1960. “My return to Frankfurt? I knew the house, summoned the footballer be in sports in 2019. I had already said that if I could come back here, I would. We had good discussions, especially about the goals.” Was winning the Europa League, a competition won back in 1980, part of the roadmap? For Trapp and the club that have always placed their full trust in him, such a feat this time could seem like a fairy tale.
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