Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Adi Hutter has a plan to stop Eden Hazard, but he was not in the mood to divulge his ideas ahead of the Europa League semi-final first-leg tie against Chelsea.
Hazard has been unplayable at times this season despite Chelsea having a mixed first campaign under Maurizio Sarri.
The Belgium international’s 13 Premier League assists is the joint highest in the division, while he has also scored 19 times in all competitions.
With Hazard’s Chelsea contract set to expire at the end of next season, he has been strongly linked with a close-season move to Real Madrid.
Hutter could therefore be one of the last coaches to try and stop Hazard in Chelsea colours.
“Yes, I have a plan in my head, naturally,” Hutter, whose side welcome Chelsea on Thursday, told a news conference of the prospect of facing Hazard.
“But please, I can’t tell it to you here and now. We just have to show it out on the pitch tomorrow.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 1, 2019
Hutter feels Ajax’s success, beating Tottenham in their latest Champions League away victory, offers Eintracht hope they can also continue to thrive as underdogs in Europe.
“It’s the same for us as for Ajax. No one would have bet on us to make it so far in the competition and, yesterday, if you look at their match, they were unbelievably strong,” Hutter added.
“I was impressed by the way they played, and they deserved the victory. In terms of us, we’ve had 12 matches, 10 victories, one draw [Frankfurt have had nine wins and two draws] and that loss in Lisbon [against Benfica], that’s impressive.
“But Chelsea are a Champions League team. Look at the players – [Cesar] Azpilicueta, David Luiz, [Olivier] Giroud, [Gonzalo] Higuain – they have lots of experience – Hazard, Pedro who played in Barcelona. They’re a pure Champions League team.
“Here, Eintracht Frankfurt have players playing their first European season. But, on a special day, we can hurt even a special opponent.
“We have our chances. You have to be realistic because, if not, we wouldn’t have made it this far. Inter, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica…all difficult, but we were brave facing these matches and the team showed a great performance.
“We deserved to win those matches and to reach the semi-finals. I think we have a chance. That’s why we play tomorrow, but they are the favourites. We face a very strong team, but we like being underdogs.”
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