By Gary Fulcher.
It’s win or bust in Basel on Wednesday evening when Liverpool meet Sevilla at St.Jakob Park in the Europa League final – 7.45pm kick off UK time – with the prize for the winners entry into next season’s Champions League.
Where the winners enter
• The UEFA Champions League winners will be entered in the UEFA Champions League group stage as normal (though both Atlético and Real Madrid have already qualified via the Spanish Liga).
• The UEFA Europa League winners will be entered in the UEFA Champions League at a minimum level of the play-offs …
• … but as both UEFA Champions League finalists will have already qualified, whoever wins the UEFA Europa League will be elevated into the group stage (the UEFA Champions League winners have qualified directly for the UEFA Champions League group stage via their domestic league programme every year since the turn of the century bar 2005, 2007 and 2012).
Liverpool will be hoping to lift their first European trophy since 2005 while Sevilla are looking to lift the Europa League trophy for the third consecutive season following triumphs in 2013/14 and 2014/15, adding to wins in 2005/06 and 2006/07. They are the first team to reach three consecutive UEFA Cup/Europa League finals and no team has won the competition more times than Sevilla (4), although Liverpool would equal that record with victory on Wednesday night.
Sevilla entered the Europa League at the round of 32 stage following their failure to qualify from their Champions League group, finishing third with six points, five points behind Juventus in 2nd and six behind group winners Manchester City. If Sevilla lift the Europa League trophy for a 5th time they would become the third side to do so after entering the competition via a 3rd place finish in the Champions League group stage, after Atlético Madrid (2010) and Chelsea FC (2013).
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