Some are record winners with a terrific record in the last 15 years, others want to remember past glorious times: today’s europa league final between sevilla FC and inter milan in colombia (21.00 o’clock/RTL and DAZN) promises top-class fubball.
THE SITUATION: inter is slightly favored – because the italians finished second in serie A, just one point behind series champion juventus turin. And because they celebrated the highest semi-final victory in the history of the competition with a 5-0 win over shakhtjor donezk. But sevilla, with five victories in five finals since 2006, has a record of winning the minor european cup. And currently the club is undefeated for 20 compulsory games.
GERMAN COMPONENTS: even though no bundesliga team has reached the final since the europe league was introduced in 2009, only three of the finals have been completely without a german component. Either there was at least one german player in the finalists’ line-up, a german referee blew the whistle, a german coach was on the sidelines, or the match took place in germany. This time, as in the first edition in 2010, the venue is the only german venue. Ten years ago, atletico madrid won 2-1 in hamburg after losing to fulham FC.
SECRET CONTE: antonio conte has only been at inter milan for one year. And actually, he had to be completely satisfied: inter is back in a final for the first time since winning the cup in 2011, and the nerazzurri (black and blue) seem to be growing into a real rival for the serial champions juventus turin, who have triumphed nine times in recent years. But when asked if he had considered that friday’s match could be his last as inter coach, conte’s answer was surprisingly evasive. "I have learned in my career to always live in the here and now," said the 51-year-old, who had recently complained publicly about a lack of support from club management.
Record-breaking jager: inters striker romelu lukaku is in top form. He is the first player to have scored in ten consecutive european league matches. He is also belgium’s top scorer with 19 goals in the UEFA cup or european league since his brace against donezk. If he scores on friday, he will have scored 34 goals in his debut season in milan – just like brazil’s superstar ronaldo in his first year at inter in 1998. In the end, inter’s last victory to date was in the minor european cup.