Understanding Manchester United's opponent: Sevilla's history in the Europa League
18 May 2016 - UEFA Europa League Final - Liverpool v Sevilla - Jose Antonio Reyes of Sevilla celebrates,lifting the Europa League Trophy as rain falls - (Photo by Marc Atkins/Offside/Getty Images).

Sevilla are no stranger to the Europa League, the side have won the Europa League a total of five times, all in the past 14 years. They won it in 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

They are also one of two teams that have won it twice consecutively, the other side being Real Madrid in 1985 and 1986 led by the legendary Emilio Butragueno and Hugo Sanchez.

In today's article, we will be taking a look at some of the sides from Seville that have won the Europa League in the past and the standout players from both teams in their finals.

  • Sevilla 2006

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In 2006, Sevilla won the then named UEFA Cup in Eindhoven, Netherlands, against a very impressive Middlesbrough side consisting of a 35 year old Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Sevilla's side in 2006 was impressive too, it included a very young Dani Alves prior to his Barcelona days, Jesus Navas before his big money move to Manchester City and Frederic Kanoute who was one of the best African players at the time.

Sevilla began their quest for the trophy in the group stages where they were in a group with Zenit, Bolton Wanderers, Besiktas and Vitoria de Guimaraes. They came first in the group stages on goal difference with Zenit and Bolton also qualifying for the knock-out stages

When it came to the final they found it a breeze, beating Middlesbrough four goals to nil. The scorers in that match were Luis Fabiano in the 27th minute, Maresca in the 78th and 84th minute and a last ditch goal by Kanoute in the 89th minute to put the game to bed and leave the English side going home embarrased. The side played a 4-4-2 in the final and kept Kanoute on the bench. The side also finished 5th in La Liga in this season.

  • Sevilla 2014

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In 2014, Sevilla won the Europa League for the third time in Turin, Italy, against a Benfica side managed by legendary Portuguese manager Jorge Jesus. This was the second time in two years that Benfica had been in the Europa League final and also the second time in two years that they had lost it, they lost it to Chelsea in 2013, 2-1.

The final in 2014 was sure to cause fireworks, Sevilla had some top talent including Ivan Rakitic, Carlos Bacca and Vitolo, and Benfica also had some top players such as, Rodrigo, Nicolas Gaitan and current Atletico Madrid goalkeeper, Jan Oblak.

Sevilla's group stage was fairly easy for them as they were drawn up against Slovan Liberec, Freiberg and Estoril whose sides on paper just didn't compare to Sevilla's side. In the end, Sevilla inevitably came first in the group with Slovan Liberec also progressing into the knock-out stages.

In the final the fixture didn't live up to expectations and went beyond the 90 minute mark. At the end of 90 minutes it was 0-0, and it actually stayed that way for another 30 minutes and the tie went to penalties. They beat Benfica 4-2 on penalties with Sevilla not missing any and Benfica missing two of their four penalties.

Sevilla played a 4-2-3-1 in the final, this tactical change came when ex Arsenal manager Unai Emery was appointed as manager. This game saw Emery win his first Europa League as Sevilla manager, and it wasn't the last one.

  • Sevilla 2016

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In 2016, Sevilla won their fifth and most recent Europa League in Basel, Switzerland, against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side. This was Klopp's first cup final as Liverpool manager, and with a weak squad to work with he had a mountain to climb to get a result against Sevilla. Liverpool's stand-out players at the time were Roberto Firmino, Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge. Sevilla on the other hand had players such as Coke, Ever Banega and Kevin Gameiro.

Sevilla's group stage was in fact in the Champions League and not in the Europa League. Despite their experience in European competitions, the group stage was a nightmare draw for Sevilla with Manchester City, Juventus and Borrusia Monchengladbach all in the same group. It was Manchester City and Juventus that progressed into the knock-out stages leaving Sevilla in third place meaning that they instead dropped back into the Round Of 36 for the Europa League.

This was in Sevilla's favour as they once again advanced to the final of the competition. This was the third time consecutively that a Sevilla team led by Unai Emery reached the final.

In the final against Liverpool, Sevilla took no prisoners beating United's rivals 3-1, the scorer for Liverpool was Sturridge in the 35th minute and the scorers for Sevilla were Gameiro in the 46th minute and Coke scoring in the 64th and 70th minute to put the game beyond doubts. Sevilla played a 4-2-3-1 in the final which is the same formation as the previous 2 finals. This was Sevilla's fifth and most recent Europa League win and Emery's third win as manager.

The game on Sunday will be one to watch for this week and will be entertaining from the first whistle to the last, with both teams wanting to make it to the final to build on what they've already won in this competition.

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