Qarabag Agdam FK bows out to Eintracht Frankfurt in UEFA Europa League Qualifier

Press Release: During an entertaining match at Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Arena – packed with 51,500 supporters – Qarabag Agdam FK tried its best to beat the home side Eintracht Frankfurt to reach the final stages of the UEFA Europa League tournament.

The Azerbaijani team came to Germany already with a two-goal deficit from the first leg and needed only a victory to go through.

But the German side Eintracht Frankfurt, playing its first international game at its home ground for 15 years, proved too strong a challenge and beat the visitors with a final score of 2–1.

Despite the defeat, Qarabag Agdam FK demonstrated an excellent level of technical ability and character by staging counterattacks effectively throughout the match. The visitors could have stolen the game if they had capitalised on all the opportunities in front of the Eintracht Frankfurt goal.

The sad irony is that Qarabag Agdam FK effectively always plays away from home, sharing the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku – Azerbaijan’s largest stadium – with the Azerbaijani national team.

The majority of the Azerbaijani region of Agdam was invaded by Armenian troops 20 years ago during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. In addition to losing its stadium, training facilities, and the players’ homes, all of which were destroyed, the Qarabag Agdam FK team coach, Allahverdi Bagirov, was killed when his car ran over an anti-tank mine.

The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) organised a reception at the Commerzbank Arena to raise awareness of Qarabag Agdam FK’s story and the ongoing occupation of Azerbaijani territory. Photographs of some of the refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) taken by the renowned German photographer Philipp Rathmer were displayed at the reception and in a spectators’ box during the game. Most attendees at the reception echoed the view that Qarabag Agdam FK’s participation in European tournaments put Nagorno-Karabakh on the map for them, and revealed the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered due to the conflict.

Despite the UN Security Council passing resolution 853 against the occupation of Agdam on 29 July 1993, this and three other resolutions have remained unimplemented. None of the players in the current Qarabag Agdam FK squad have ever been able train or play in their hometown.