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5 things to know about the Europa League final
Question of the Day
The Portuguese club, which won back-to-back European Cup titles in 1961-62, has lost seven straight finals, including last year’s Europa League final.
Sevilla will be aiming to win UEFA’s second-tier competition for the third time in nine seasons, and complete Spain’s sweep of the major continental titles.
The winner of Wednesday’s match will also be rewarded with playing the Champions League winner - either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid - in the season-opening UEFA Super Cup in August in Cardiff, Wales.
Here are five things to know about the Europa League final:
Both clubs are seeking to win a third major European title, though from very different histories.
Benfica won its European Cup trophies in the early 60s when, inspired by forward Eusebio, it was a finalist five times in eight seasons.
Now, the Portuguese club has a streak of seven straight losses in continental finals stretching back to the 1963 European Cup.
“It’s folklore, we’re going to have to break that curse,” Benfica coach Jorge Jesus said of the losing run. “We came close last year and now we again have a chance to this year.
“It motivates us further, gives us strength, so we can lay to rest that ghost. It’s going to have to be broken sometime, let’s hope tomorrow will be that time.”
Sevilla is relatively new on the big stage, never having reached a European final until the 2006 UEFA Cup. The Spanish club also started with back-to-back titles, retaining the second-tier trophy which was rebranded as the Europa League two years later.
Wednesday’s match is the first between the teams since both made UEFA competition debuts in a September 1957 preliminary round of the European Cup. Sevilla won 3-1 at home and advanced after a 0-0 draw in Lisbon.
By Richard Rahn
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