The final of the current edition will see Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers compete against each other. These are the two teams that will compete for the coveted trophy, the second European competition after the Champions League. After the qualifying rounds—to which the playoffs have been added this year—and then the knockout phase, only two are left for the final.
The team that wins the cup will also have the opportunity to play in the Champions League groups next season.
It is the third time in history that a European competition final has been played at this stadium. The first occasion dates back to the 1986 European Cup final, when Steaua Bucharest surprisingly beat Barcelona on penalties; the second, on the other hand, came in the 2003 Uefa Cup final, when Porto -who would also win the Champions League the following year-overtook Celtic in extra time.
Let’s see what the paths of the two teams were, who qualified directly for the group stage through their position in the standings in their respective championships, without first having to go through the preliminary qualifying rounds.
In September, Eintracht Frankfurt began directly in the Europa League groups. The Germans started strong by winning their Group D ahead of Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, and Antwerp. Eintracht scored 12 points in 6 games and finished at the top of the standings at +3 over the Greeks. As a result, they thus obtained a direct pass to the round of 16.
Here they met Betis Sevilla. The first leg to Spain ended 1-2 in favor of the guests, while the return was tied; thanks to the away victory, the Germans moved on to the next round. However, another Spaniard happened in the quarterfinals, Barcelona. Despite Xavi’s team being one of the favorites for the final victory—after the elimination from the Champions League and beating Napoli in the play-offs—Frankfurt managed to still have the better: after the 1-1 first leg in Germany, they went on to win 3-2 in the return leg at the Camp Nou.
Then came the semifinal, where they eliminated West Ham. In fact, Eintracht first won 1-2 in the first leg in London last week, and then also took a hit on the return home in front of their fans: the match has just ended 1-0 for the Germans.
The same can be said for Rangers, who began in the Europa League groups. The Scots finished Group A in second place, one point behind Lyon and one point ahead of Sparta Prague. The Rangers therefore had to go through the playoffs first to reach the round of 16 of the competition. In the play-off, they found Borussia Dortmund, who had been eliminated from the Champions League groups. To their surprise, though, the underdog team won. What made the difference was that they won 2–4 in Germany and then tied 2–2 in Scotland.
The Rangers, therefore, deservedly reached the round of 16. Here they faced and eliminated the Red Star: the first leg was fantastic and ended 3-0, while the 2-1 defeat in the second leg was painless. In the quarters, however, it was the turn of Braga. This time, the Scots managed to recover from the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the first leg in Portugal: a 3-1 win in the return match was decisive.
And finally, the semifinals were played. After a 1-0 first-leg defeat in Germany against Leipzig, Rangers have made another great comeback: the game has ended with a score of 3-1, which rewarded the hosts themselves.
The 2021/22 Europa League final between Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers will be played on Wednesday, May 18 2022, at 21.00 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Seville, Spain. Neither team will therefore play the decisive match at home in front of their fans.