Schrock scores as Frankfurt advances to Europa KO stages

MANILA, Philippines – Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt found an unlikely hero in Filipino international Stephan Schrock as they formalized their entry into the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League knockout stages, beating APOEL Nicosia, 2-0 Thursday, December 12 (Friday, December 13 in Manila) at the Comerzbank- Arena in Frankfurt.

Although not a regular in Armin Veh’s starters, it was a fantastic game for the Azkals' midfield dynamo as he scored the opening goal midway into the second half before capping his night by winning his team the freekick which translated into Frankfurt's game-deciding second goal.

Schrock – who has netted in 3 goals so far for the Philippines since joining the team in 2011 – came out as the star for the relegation-threatened Frankfurt as he headed in his first goal for the Eagles, pouncing on Constant Djakpa’s cross in the 68th to make it 1-nil for the home team.

There will be no regrets for Veh for fielding in a mostly second-choice squad against the Cypriots as Schrock later won a dangerous freekick from just outside the penalty area, which Djakpa promptly converted into Frankfurt’s second goal of the night 13 minutes from time.

Schrock’s in-form performance was enough to propel the German side on top of the Group F table, which racked up 15 points from 5 wins and one defeat. 

The 27-year-old all-around player signed with Frankfurt during the offseason after a brief stint with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, making 10 appearances without scoring any goals. Schrock helped SpVgg Greuther Furth get its promotion to the German top flight 3 years ago before joining Die Hoff at the start of the 2012 season.

By topping its group, Eintracht Frankfurt will move on to the Round of 32 with the draw to be held on Monday, December 16 (December 17 in Manila) and the matches to be played on February. –