Villarreal are hoping to write a key page in the club's history books as they face Manchester United in the historic Polish city of Gdansk. The northern city was formerly known as Danzig, when under German control and it was there that the Solidarnosc trade union movement was born under Lech Walesa in the 1980s. Tonight the city hosts the 2021 Europa League final with Villarreal facing one of the most celebrated clubs in world football in Manchester United, with the English club now being controlled by American Glazer family.
The side in yellow from Vila-real, a town of just 50,000 inhabitants (or 'my home-town' as Pau Torres proudly called it yesterday) have managed to generate a decent profile in European football thanks to the work of Fernando Roig, with the local businessman delegating the day-to-day mechanics of running the club to his son. The club only established themselves as a top flight outfit 23 years ago and in that time have just dropped down to Segunda once (when a blatant last minute offside goal for Rayo Vallecano condemned then to relegation in 2012). In recent years the club have been a regular fixture in European competition and in particular in the UEFA Europa League.
Villarreal are a good side with a good coach in Unai Emery. The Basque knows well what it's like to lift the Europa League trophy with his hat-trick of wins in his time with Sevilla. The LaLiga side however are very much the underdogs ahead of tonight's final. United are a heavyweight side with the likes of big global stars in Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani... Still, anything can happen in a one-off contest and both sides will fancy their chances. These games can be decided on a fleeting moment of brilliance and will go the way of the team that generates their own luck on the night. I do hope that luck tonight goes the way for Roig's club as I feel he deserves it more than the Glazer family.