Sevilla win third straight Europa League title
Sevilla achieved a remarkable hat-trick as it became the first club to win a third successive Europa League titles, with victory over Liverpool. Sevilla survived a first-half battering before hitting back with three second-half goals to beat Liverpool 3-1 in the final. While the lone Liverpool goal was scored by Sturridge, Sevilla's goals came from Kevin Gameiro and Coke who scored a brace.
What is UEFA Europa League?
UEFA Europa League is Europe's annual second-tier football club competition organized by UEFA. Founded in 1971, it was known as UEFA Cup until 2009, when it was rebranded as the UEFA Europa League . The title was won by 27 different clubs, 12 of whom, won the title more than once. From 2014-15 season, Europa League winners qualified for the following season's Champions League.
Sevilla, the most successful club and defending champion
Spain's Sevilla FC is the most successful club of the Europa League competition, having won it four times, including the last edition - 2005-06, 2006-07, 2013-14 and 2014-15.
2015-16 Europa League Season
The 2015–16 UEFA Europa League is the 45th season of the tournament and the 7th season since it was renamed from the UEFA Cup to the UEFA Europa League. The 2015-16 Europa League final will be held on 18 May 2016 at the St. Jakob-Park in Basel, Switzerland. The winners of this season's Europa League and Champions League will play the UEFA Super Cup.
Format of Europa League
Participating teams qualify through their performance in the domestic leagues and cup competitions. The tournament consists of three qualifying rounds, a play-off round, group stage, four knockout stages and a single-leg final tie. Each team plays an opponent, home and away, in the qualifying and play-off rounds. Winners of the play-off round qualify for the group stage, which is contested by 48 teams.
Round of 32
48 teams are drawn into 12 groups of four each with each team playing six matches, both home and away. Top two teams in every group progress to the round of 32. The 24 teams qualified from group stage are joined by 8 third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage in the round of 32. Teams compete in this round by a draw.
Round of 16 winners
The draw for round of 16 was held on 26 February 2016. The first legs were played on 10 March, and second legs were played on 17 March 2016. Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla, Villareal and Athletic Bilbao beat Anderlecht, Basel, Leverkusen and Valencia respectively to move to quarter-finals. Liverpool, Sparta Prague, Borussia Dortmund and Braga qualified for QFs beating ManU, Lazio, Tottenham and Fenerbahce respectively.
The draw for the quarter-finals was held on 18 March 2016. Braga was drawn against Shakhtar Donetsk, Villareal against Sparta Prague, Athletic Bilbao against Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund against Liverpool.
Liverpool beats Dortmund 4-3 in a dramatic comeback
Liverpool beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3, in a dramatic thriller to reach the Europa League semi-finals. Held 1-1 in first leg of quarter-final, Dortmund were leading two goals to nil at half-time. While Origi's goal gave Liverpool a foothold, the visitors scored again to make it 3-1. Staging an astonishing comeback, Coutinho, Sakho levelled the tie, while Lovren's stoppage-time header secured the win for Liverpool.
The last four
Liverpool will be joined by two Spanish clubs and a Ukrainian club in the last four. While Sevilla qualified beating Athletic Bilbao on penalties, Villarreal beat Sparta Prague 6-3 on aggregate, and Shakhtar Donetsk defeated Braga at home on a 6-1 aggregate triumph.
A 5th straight loss for Klopp
The defeat against Sevilla leaves Liverpool with no European football next season. This was coach Jurgen Klopp's fifth consecutive final loss in a cup final, including the 2013 Champions League final when he was at Dortmund.