Cologne ready to host combatants
Trophy weighs 15kg
First ever meeting by both sides in Europe
All things being equal, this year’s Europa League final between Italy’s Inter Milan and FC Sevilla of Spain promises to be a thriller for soccer fans across the globe.
The competition, which settled for an abridge version due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is finally coming to its conclusion today (Friday, August 21) with both teams battling it out to decide who goes home with the coveted trophy.
Quite interestingly, the Europa League trophy at stake is the heaviest of all UEFA silverware, weighing in at a sturdy 15 kilograms
Today’s confrontation in Cologne will be the first ever meeting of both clubs on the European scene, having never crossed each other’s path in any competition over the years.
On their way to this final showdown, Inter thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the semi-finals, while Sevilla despatched one of the pre-tournament favourites, Manchester United 2-1 to earn their final berth.
For the Serie A side, they are favourites for the trophy having come this far. Equipped with the powerhouse likes former Manchester United and Everton striker, Romelu Lukaku who has been in fine form, the Italian side will not be leaving anything to chance.
But in this competition, Sevilla are no pushovers. They are one of the most successful clubs at the European level, winning the UEFA Europa League five times, more than any other European club.
With this massive experience on Sevilla’s side, the Coach Antonio Conte-managed Inter are surely in for a real battle of wits to win the tournament
The 2020 Europa League final is scheduled for 8pm and will hold inside the Rhein Energie Stadion in Cologne, Germany.
In line with the COVID-19 protocols, the match will be played behind closed doors as no fans will be allowed into arena.
Originally, this final was supposed to take place at the Stadion Energa Gdansk, Poland on May 27, but the venue and date were changed after UEFA decided to relocate the last stages as part of a “final-eight tournament” of single-match knockout ties amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Stadion Energa Gdansk usually serves as the home of Lechia Gdansk matches and was one of the stadiums used during Euro 2012. As compensation, the stadium will now host next season’s final instead.
Current holders of the trophy are Chelsea who won the 2019 edition of the competition.
On the road to winning the title, the Blues defeated Premier League rivals, Arsenal 4-1 in the final held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
However, they were unable to defend their title during the 2019-20 season, having automatically qualified for the Champions League through their third-placed finish in the Premier League.
As Europa League winners, they earned the right to play in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup against Champions League winners Liverpool.
The Londoners went on to lose 5-4 on penalties to Jurgen Klopp and his Reds after a 2-2 draw at regulation time. – With reports from Goal.com