Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers Glasgow have a chance to put an end to decades of turmoil when they meet in the Europa League final on Wednesday.
For Eintracht, it is about winning their first European Cup in more than 40 years. Rangers try to capture their first continental title in half a century.
Establishing himself in the Spanish city of Seville will also guarantee the winner a place in the Champions League group stage next season.
“For Eintracht, for the fans, for the club, for the players, (to win again after 42 years) would be the greatest thing in history,” German club manager Oliver Glasner told UEFA.com. “It’s the best when you can make so many people happy. For us, everything revolves around this final.”
It will be Eintracht’s first European final since defeating Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1980 in a German arm wrestling match in the UEFA Cup, the predecessor to the Europa League.
Rangers brushed against European glory when they reached the UEFA Cup final in 2008, but lost to Zénit Saint Petersburg. The Scottish club are attempting to lift their first European trophy since capturing the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.
Both clubs have ardent fans, and tens of thousands will travel to the south of Spain to be present. Local authorities and UEFA are on alert.
Ahead of the semi-final between Eintracht and West Ham in Germany, more than 30 people were arrested over brawls between fans of both clubs in Frankfurt.
The German club’s supporters also made headlines when more than 30,000 managed to enter the Camp Nou in Barcelona for the second leg of the quarter-final.
UEFA has requested that fans without tickets not travel to Spain for the final on Wednesday, and has warned of the risk of buying tickets through scalping.
More than 40,000 seats will be available at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium, but only 10,000 tickets were allocated for each club. The city of Seville plans to open ‘fan zones’ for those who do not go to the stadium.
The final will face two teams that play with a lot of intensity and have a strong brand, and that have surprised by advancing so far.
Rangers, led by captain and top scorer James Tavernier as their benchmark, turned things around after losing their first two group stage games. They have already eliminated two German clubs in the tournament, Borussia Dortmund in the knockout stage, and then Leipzig in the semi-finals.
“There are not many players who can play European finals. It is not for all players. Once we’re there, we have to do everything we can to win it. It’s extraordinary,” said Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who was hired in November after Steven Gerrard accepted an offer from Aston Villa.
Eintracht lands undefeated in the final. He left Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham on the way in the three previous instances. They are trying to become the third team to go unbeaten in the Europa League era, emulating Chelsea in 2019 and Villarreal in 2021.