The Europa League final is upon us. Defending champions Sevilla will be fighting for their third successive European crown against Liverpool on Wednesday.
New Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has done very well to get the Reds to the Europa League final and will be hoping to secure their place in next season’s Champions League with a win over the La Liga outfits in Basel.
A lot is at stake for both teams who will need a win on Wednesday to ensure a place in the European football for next season. Both sides have had a disappointing league campaign and will want to atone for that with a cup win.
Here at SportsCourant, we take a look at the journey of both teams and assess their chances of glory in Basel.
Liverpool FC – Road to Basel
Liverpool will appear in first European final since 2007 when AC Milan beat them in the Champions League.
The Reds will be hoping for a better outcome this time, especially after their tricky route in the knockout rounds.
Liverpool were pitted against German outfit Augsburg in the Round of 32, before coming up against their fierce rivals Manchester United.
The tie against Manchester United was arguably the most high profile meeting in the recent history of the competition. Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated both legs and went on to secure a comfortable win at Anfield, before drawing at Old Trafford.
The Reds were then up against this year’s firm favourites Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals of the competition. On his return to Westfalenstadion, Klopp guided his side to a tactical 1-1 away draw.
At home, things started off rather bizarrely for the Reds who had to crawl back from 0-2 and 1-3 deficits at Anfield to dramatically win the game 4-3.
Liverpool’s best performance of the competition came against Villarreal in the second leg of the semifinals. The Premier League giants thrashed the La Liga outfits 3-0 at Anfield after a 1-0 defeat in the first leg at El Madrigal.
Sevilla – Road to Basel
The Spanish side has won the Europa League twice in a row and will be looking to add another title this week.
Comparing to Liverpool, Unai Emery’s side has had a relatively comfortable route to Basel.
Sevilla finished third in the Champion’s League group stage and were subsequently entered into the Europa League earlier this season.
The La Liga giants secured their place in the last 16 of the competition with a comfortable win over Molde. Emery’s side had to see off the hosts Basel in the Round of 16.
The first real test for the defending champions came in the quarterfinals where they struggled against another Spanish team, Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side gave Sevilla a run for their money and was eventually eliminated on penalties.
Sevilla’s impressive away performance in Ukraine ensured their place in a third successive Europa League final. The Spanish outfits secured a 5-3 aggregate win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the semifinals of the competition.
Liverpool have had the tougher set of fixtures in the competition so far and are slightly better than their opponents in terms of individual quality.
Despite Sevilla’s recent experience of winning the Europa League, they will need to improve their dreadful away form. Emery’s men have failed to win a single away game all season.
Judging by the recent performances of both sides, the Premier League outfits are certainly firm favourites to lift the European trophy.
The Kick-off at St. Jakob-Park is set for 7:45 PM BST Wednesday 18 May and we’ll be keeping you updated with all of the important team news and statistics leading up to the final.