In an appetizer for June 6th’s UEFA Champions League final, the UEFA Europa League also wraps up its competition on Wednesday as Dnipro of the Ukraine and Spanish side Sevilla will clash for the title.
The UEFA Europa League began in 1971 as a competition for European clubs that finished below the Champions League qualifying places. The final used to be played over two legs, but that was adjusted to the single final, neutral site format in 1998.
This may not even be Dnipro’s biggest game of the season, as they have a chance of reaching the Champions League for the first time since 1989 if they can finish second in the Ukrainian Premier League. Dnipro had quite the run in the mid 1980s while competing in the Soviet League under Russian name Dnepr, reaching the Champions League — then called the European Cup — quarterfinals twice and winning the Soviet League twice in that span.
Dnipro finished fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League six times in seven years from 2006-2013 before jumping up to second a year ago. That meant a chance at qualifying for the Champions League, but Dnipro lost to FC Copenhagen in the final qualifying round.
Sevilla is right back where they were a year ago. Sevilla won the competition last year after defeating Benfica in a dramatic penalty shootout for their third Europa League title in nine seasons. Sevilla missed out on Champions League qualification by one point, and will need to defeat Dnipro to reach the premier competition next year.
Here’s what you need to know about the match:
UEFA Europa League Final
Wednesday, May 27
National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland
2:45 PM Eastern Time
Dnipro +500, Sevilla -175, Draw +300
It’s tough to go against Sevilla. They have advantages all over the field and though Dnipro managed to see off Napoli in the last round, but will be even more difficult as they are not a team that can create a lot of qualify chances in a match. Sevilla have lost just one of 14 Europa League matches this season — they are in a higher class. 3-0 Sevilla
Stats You Need to Know
Scouting Dnipro (Stats from the Europa League)
Record: 6-4-4 (2nd in Group F, beat Olympiacos in Round of 32, Ajax in Round of 16, Club Brugge in Quarterfinals and Napoli in Semifinals)
Coach: Myron Markevych, 1st season
Goals For: 14
Goals Allowed: 10
Leading Goal Scorer: Nikola Kalinić, 3
Scouting Sevilla (Stats from the Europa League)
Record: 10-1-3 (2nd in Group G, beat Mönchengladbach in Round of 32, Villarreal in Round of 16, Zenit in Quarterfinals and Fiorentina in Semifinals)
Coach: Unai Emery, 3rd season
Goals For: 26
Goals Allowed: 12
Leading Goal Scorer: Carlos Bacca, 5