On Tuesday, August 11th, UEFA Champions League winners Barcelona will face off against UEFA Europa League champions Sevilla to decide which one is the best European club from last season. The Andalusian side successfully defended their title with another hard-fought campaign.
The Rojiblancos were drawn in Group G with Eredivisie traditionals, Feyenoord, along with Belgian contenders Standard Liège and Croatian side Rijeka. The La Liga contenders were heavy favorites to win the group with certain ease, but instead the team had a very slow start, with only one win in the first three games. A strong 3-1 win over Liège got them back on track, but Feyenoord shocked the Seville side with a 2-0 win in Holland to secure the group, while Los Sevillistas finished second with 11 points.
Not winning the group meant a tough road ahead, and that's exactly what happened. The Round of 32 pinned Sevilla against a good Bundesliga team, Borussia Mönchengladbach. It was indeed a difficult tie, won by the Rojiblancos on away goals thanks to a thrilling 3-2 win in Germany, having to come from behind after going down 2-1 in the first half. Midfielder Vitolo was the star of the game, getting a brace and keeping his team alive in the competition.
The Round of 16 was a La Liga tie for Los Nervionenses, as they faced Villarreal in a Spanish duel thoroughly dominated by Sevilla, who won 5-2 on aggregate, including a goal from Denis Suárez, a Barcelona player on loan.
And Suárez himself was a key component of Sevilla's quarterfinal win against Russian powerhouse Zenit, who was very close to eliminating the reigning champions on various occasions, but Denis' game-winning goal in the first leg proved fundamental as Sevilla survived the tie, emerging victorious with a 4-3 aggregate result.
Onto the semifinals we go, and this turned out to be the easiest knockout phase for Sevilla, who got to face Italian side Fiorentina. It was an easy, dominant 5-0 aggregate win in the tie, qualifying the Spanish club for the chance of winning back-to-back titles.
The capital of Poland, Warsaw, was the site of a surprising final between Sevilla and underdog Dnipro, who defeated teams like Inter Milan, Olympiacos and Napoli in a spectacular Europa League run. And they were close to completing a Cinderella Story as they were tied at halftime. But Sevilla top goalscorer Carlos Bacca proved why he was one of Spain's best strikers last season, scoring a brace -- including the game-winner -- to give his team the title.
Sevilla will now play the Super Cup for the second straight year, against another Spanish giant. In 2014, they lost to Champions League winners Real Madrid, and they hope to avoid defeat against Barcelona.