Europa League final preview: Sevilla vs. Inter Milan
Inter and Sevilla meet for the first time in European competition in the Europa League final in Cologne with the LaLiga side looking to win their sixth UEL title.
Inter and Sevilla meet for the first time in European competition tonight in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League final in Cologne.
Antonio Conte's Nerazzurri dropped out of the Champions League but have looked impressive in 2020, spearheaded by the fearsome attacking duo of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.
That said, Inter have only beaten Spanish opposition once in their past 12 attempts, their previous victory coming in a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona 10 years ago.
Sevilla's pedigree in the competition is famous - they have won it five times since 2006 - but Julen Lopetegui's men have undeniably ridden their luck in the knockout stages since winning their group comfortably ahead of APOEL, Qarabag and Dudelange, even if they are enjoying a club-record run of 20 games without defeat.
Partnering Lautaro Martinez up top for the Serie A side, 27-year-old Belgian striker Lukaku has dazzled under the guidance of Antonio Conte. While coming up short in Serie A, perhaps missing a glorious opportunity to claim the title, considering the issues at champions Juventus, Inter can finish with a flourish by beating Sevilla in Cologne.
Lukaku has scored six times in five appearances to help his club get this far. His strike in the quarter-final win over Bayer Leverkusen saw him score for a ninth successive Europa League match, a new record. He duly extended that streak against Shakhtar Donetsk next time out, adding a late brace in a 5-0 rout.
"I'm happy for him, as he deserves all of this success, but Romelu must also thank the team for putting him in the conditions to express himself in the best form of his entire career," Conte said after the Leverkusen game to Sky Sport Italia.
Sevilla aim for title #6
Despite coming into the game as the less fancied side, Sevilla will be anxious to spring another surprise in a competition where the Andalusian side excel. The win over Manchester United in the semi-final was possibly the club's finest night of the season albeit with a stroke of good fortune. In securing their ticket to the final as United out-shot Sevilla 20 to nine and forced goalkeeper Bono into several crucial saves to keep the LaLiga side in the tie.
Sevilla boss Lopetegui: "Inter are world class"
"Inter are team full of world-class players, but we are excited about the final and determined to put in a great performance," Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui told a news conference on Thursday.
"We will have to play to our strengths and be a team that works hard for each other as well as a reliable one that plays as it knows how. Our opponents will ensure we will have to be at our very best."
Inter coach Conte: "History only remembers winners"
"We should be very proud of reaching a final after 10 years but we have to remember that only the winner goes down in history," he added.
"I played many finals as a player, I won one Champions League final but lost three and I've realised that only the winner is remembered, so that should give us extra motivation."
Possible starting line-ups
Sevilla: Bounou; Navas, Koundé, Diego Carlos, Reguilón; Banega, Fernando, Jordán; Suso, En-Nesyri, Ocampos
Inter: Handanovič; Godín, De Vrij, Bastoni; D’Ambrosio, Barella, Brozović, Gagliardini, Young; Martínez, Lukaku
Out: Vecino (knee problem) with Sánchez a doubt
AS English prediction
Sevilla 0-2 Inter
Sevilla-Inter: How and where to watch
Wherever you are in the world, you can follow the UEFA Europa League final unfold with our how and where to watch the game guide.