Europa League: Dnipro′s battle against the odds, Sevilla looks to write record books | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 26.05.2015
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Europa League: Dnipro's battle against the odds, Sevilla looks to write record books

Whatever the outcome on Wednesday night in Warsaw, either team are set to achieve something special. Both Dnipro and Sevilla deserve a fine end to their Europa League story - but there can only be one winner.

Kyiv proved to be a home, of sorts, for Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, the Eastern Ukrainian side forced to play their UEFA Europa League matches in the country's capital after the outbreak of war.

In their temporary home stadium - the colossal 70,000-capacity Olympic Stadium - there was an atmosphere of safety amid the conflict roaring in the east of the country - but not quite for the opposition. Great names of European competition like Ajax and Olympiakos went down, while Club Brugge and Napoli were defeated in Kyiv.

All four sides failed to score at Dnipro's makeshift fortress. "I am wishing for this rare moment of unity in time of war. We've been playing for the entire Ukraine," said the club's coach Myron Markeyvch.

Winning ingredients

Fußball UEFA Europa League Halbfinale SSC Neapel vs. Dnipro Dnipropetrowsk

Kiev has become a home from home for Dnipro in European competition

Dnipro's stinginess has been an ideal foundation for an extended European campaign this season. In all of their ties this season, the Ukrainians have had to be weatherproof against the odds, sitting in a deep shape before looking to spring on the counterattack.

The only star quality comes from Yevhen Konoplyanka, the 25-year-old forward who has been on the radar of several English clubs. He has provided three crucial assists in the knockout rounds - it was his cross that was headed in by Yevhen Seleznyov whose two goals in the semifinals earned Dnipro their first European final.

But standing before them in the final are the great monopolists of Europe's second club tournament, Sevilla. The Spanish club is looking to become the most successful team of the competition: a fourth win would surpass the three of Juventus, Inter Milan and Liverpool. Quite remarkably, that would be four UEFA Cup/Europa League titles in nine years for the club from Andalucía.

A bond with the prize

UEFA Cup 2005/6 Sieger FC Sevilla

The first of Sevilla's three titles in nine years, the 2005-06 season

"The growth that the team has experienced is thanks to what we feel for the Europa League," Sevilla boss Unai Emery told "It means something. The team wants the fans to feel the vibrations that this competition gives us. We've achieved something that makes us bigger, it gives us prestige, and it gives us a place in history and recognition in Europe for our hard work."

Sevilla may have missed out on Champions League qualification domestically, but winning the Europa League now has an added incentive with a spot in Europe's top club tournament available. Emery's side has come through some difficult examinations against Germany's Borussia Mönchengladbach, Villarreal, Zenit and Fiorentina in the semifinals.

Scoring hasn't been a problem for Sevilla with 18 goals in their Europa League knockout ties and 71 in league encounters this season - the three-time Europa League winners are the third-highest scorers in the Spanish top-flight. A free-scoring Spanish team and a defensively astute Ukrainian side sets up a fascinating contrast in Warsaw.

"Dnipro have been the revelation in the Europa League this season as they have beaten some very important teams and if they are in the final it is because they deserve to be there.

"So the game is at 50 percent and we are travelling with humility and with maximum respect," said Emery whose aim is to guide Sevilla back to the Champions League where they qualified three successive times between 2008 and 2010.

Follow all of the action on Wednesday from Poland with live coverage of the UEFA Europa League final on and on our Twitter account: @DW_Sports.

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