Spanish club Sevilla FC will take on Italian giants Inter Milan in the 2020 Europa League Final that will be staged in Cologne, Germany. Two of the most successful teams in the competition’s history go head-to-head on August 21 in what promises to be a cracker of a finale.
Sevilla are the most successful team in the Europa League, having won the competition on five occasions while Inter Milan are three-time champions. Let’s relive the journey of the two clubs in the tournament and also preview this all-important Europa League final.
JOURNEY TO THE FINAL
Sevilla started the Europa League in Group A and topped their group to set up a Round of 32 clash against CFR Cluj. They managed to go through on away goals in this particular encounter and comfortably won their Round of 16 match against AS Roma by two goals to nil. They had a grilling encounter with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the quarter-finals with just one set piece goal separating the two teams. In the semi-finals, Sevilla met another English side, Manchester United and a gritty 2-1 win over United booked their place in the 2020 Europa League final.
Unlike Sevilla, Inter Milan began their journey in the superior UEFA Champions League. Inter finished third in a difficult group with FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund qualifying to the next stage. They had their Round of 32 match in the Europa League against Ludogorets. They stormed past Ludogorets 4-1 in a two-legged affair and followed that up with a comfortable 2-0 win over Getafe in the Round of 16. They won their quarter-final clash against Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 and absolutely demolished Shakhtar 5-0 in the semi-final.
Sevilla’s manager, Julen Lopetegui, prefers to deploy a 4-3-3 with some quality midfield players in Ever Banega and Fernando. Their full-backs, club captain Jesus Navas and Sergio Reguilon loves to push forward and provide the width the team needs to play its expansive style of football. They have inverted wingers who like to cut inside and chip in with loads of goals. They are a quick team who create a lot of problems for the opposition defence with their pace and clever movements in the midfield.
Antonio Conte uses his preferred three at the back philosophy at Inter Milan as well. Normally Inter uses 3-5-2 with both wing-backs given the license to push forward in attack and make it five at the back while defending. They are as compact as a team can get while defending and there are no bystanders in this Conte team. They are deadly on the counter-attacks and put in plenty of crosses in the box. The forward partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez has been dangerous and have combined for more than 50 goals this season.
Sevilla (most recent first): WWWWD
Sevilla are unbeaten in their last 20 competitive matches, winning eight of their nine games. They have never lost a UEFA Europa League final in their history. They have scored 20 times in the competition so far and have kept seven clean sheets in 11 Europa League matches.
Inter Milan (most recent first): WWWWW
The defence is rock solid for Inter Milan having conceded only one goal in the last seven matches. They are unbeaten in 11 of their previous outings and haven’t lost a single game in the Europa League so far. They have scored on 13 occasions and conceded just two goals in the five Europa League matches.
PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Ever Banega will play his last match for Sevilla and what a send-off it could be if they would win the Europa League for a record sixth time. The 32-year-old is the highest assist provider for Sevilla this season with seven in all competitions and has scored three times as well. He brings quality and creativity to that Sevilla midfield and will surely be one to watch in the final.
Romelu Lukaku is breaking all the goalscoring records for Inter Milan this season. The Belgian is their highest scoring player this season with 23 goals in all competitions. He can score in a variety of ways and that makes him a complete forward. Plus his linkup with Latauro Martinez is excellent and the two have a deadly strike partnership. Lukaku has scored in a record ten successive UEFA Europa League outings and can be the difference on Friday night.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES