Rafael Borre: Eintracht Frankfurt's big-game star who could decide the Europa League final

Rafael Borre Eintracht Frankfurt 2021-22Getty Images

When Eintracht Frankfurt take the field for Wednesday's Europa League final, at least one of their starting line-up will be confident that he can handle the pressure.

Striker Rafael Borre led the line for River Plate in one of the biggest matches in the Argentine side's history, their 2018 Copa Libertadores final triumph over arch-rivals Boca Juniors, as well as their unsuccessful bid to defend the title the following year against Flamengo.

And the Colombia international has an unerring knack for scoring when it most matters, which may prove crucial to Eintracht's hopes of lifting the crown as they go head to head with Rangers at Sevilla's Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan home.

Borre and Eintracht both made a slow start to the 2021-22 season following his free transfer from the Millonario last summer.

The Bundesliga side won just one of their opening 10 league games, while their new signing had one solitary goal to his name before receiving a massive boost to his confidence away to Greuther Furth, netting in the 90th minute to lead his side to a much-needed second victory.

In truth, Borre does not stand out for his lethal goalscoring ability, and while he is no slouch in front of the net, the 25-year-old is more of a team asset, participating across the pitch with his passing and movement and also doing his part as the first line of defence when Eintracht are out of possession.

Nevertheless, a final Bundesliga tally of eight goals and six assists was wholly respectable for his debut campaign and a team-high for his club, who finished in mid-table comfort as their attentions switched to European matters later in the season.

It is in the big games that Borre tends to save his best performances.

In River's 2018 Libertadores charge, he netted in the last 16, quarter and semi-finals on the way to the title, while the following year he also scored in the final three rounds of the competition, including a vital semi penalty against Boca and the opener against Flamengo that saw River take a lead that lasted almost 80 minutes before Gabriel Barbosa's last-gasp heroics in the final.

Similarly, the striker may have only netted three Europa League goals this campaign, but two of those were match-winners to dispatch Barcelona at Camp Nou in the last-eight decider, and West Ham in the following round. When the pressure is on, he comes into his own.

"Personally, it's been an unbelievable year, I never expected to experience so much with this club," Borre beamed in an interview with Eintracht's official website. “I am really happy to be part of such success.

"The final is going to be awesome, Frankfurt and Rangers have fought hard to be there and we have to enjoy it.”

Borre PS

After seeing his first spell in Europe with Atletico Madrid – he was signed by the Liga side from Deportivo Cali at the age of 19 but never appeared in a first-team match - and Villarreal fizzle out before he returned to South America, Borre is clearly enjoying this fresh opportunity to show what he is capable of.

And it is not just Eintracht fans who are excited about his recent heroics.

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Colombia fans are famed for their ardent support of compatriots abroad, and this year Borre has shared centre-stage with one Luis Diaz as their most successful representative across the Atlantic Ocean, leading to interest in the Bundesliga last seen during James Rodriguez's stint at Bayern Munich.

If he can keep shining at the top level, the implications for the Cafeteros are thrilling: a golden strike partnership made up of the Eintracht man and Liverpool's new sensation, ready to restore them to their former glory following this year's painful failure to make the World Cup.

Indeed, within the space of just over a week, Colombia may boast both a Europa League and Champions League winner in their ranks, and given Borre's track-record, he might well have a big hand in taking Eintracht to the title in Seville.