While much of Britain’s attention on this year’s Europa Cup semi-finals will understandably concentrate on Jurgen Klopp’s attempts to secure his first trophy for Liverpool elsewhere there is potential history in the making.
In the other semi-final fixture Sevilla travel to Shakhtar Donesk this week just two opponents away from attaining a quite remarkable consecutive treble of tournament wins having lifted the Coupe UEFA for the last two seasons running. Should they overcome their Ukrainian challenge and triumph in the final it will be the first occasion a team has achieved such a feat in the competition’s 45 year existence. Undeniably they are on a roll and you too can experience such a sensation with these fantastic bingo bonuses.
No other side has ever pulled off a UEFA Cup/Europa League hat-trick and when that accomplishment is broadened it becomes even more impressive for Los Rojiblancos – Spain’s oldest professional outfit – as they would then join a very exclusive club indeed.
It may seem contrary to suggest such a thing but winning three league championships on the bounce is probably easier than three knockout competitions. If a team is dominant in a particular country and enjoys a sustained period of success then it occasionally follows that they top their league for three consecutive seasons. In England alone Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have done this. Yet in knockout competitions coming out on top one season after another is nigh-on impossible. There are simply too many variables; too many possibilities of an off-day.
In the World Cup no country has yet managed such a coup not even the mighty Brazil or indomitable Germany. Domestically no club has yet to lift the FA Cup three times running though huge kudos is due to Liverpool for beating West Ham, Spurs, Manchester United and Everton in consecutive finals to enjoy a stranglehold on the League Cup in the early eighties. The Champions League meanwhile – and its earlier incarnation the European Cup – boasts just two sides to manage a hat-trick of glory, and it should be noted, what sides they were.
The majestic Real Madrid conquered the continent for five years running in the mid to late fifties, elevated to legendary status by the supernatural workings of Di Stefano and Puskas. Twenty years later a Beckenbauer-led Bayern Munich eleven bossed proceedings from 1974 until they lost their crown in 1977.
So should Unai Emery’s men experience cup glory in Basel on May 18th not only should the club be suitably lauded for such a unique tournament achievement but they, by rights, join a pantheon of European elite that are in every sense esteemed company.
Finishing third is a tough Champions League group that included Manchester City and Juventus was a blow to the Andalusian side while their quarter final against Athletic Bilbao was a tense affair that went all the way to penalties. Nobody ever said creating history was easy though.