Declan Rice and Christopher Nkunku have joined victorious Eintracht Frankfurt stars in headlining the Europa League's team of the season.

The selections for the competition's end-of-season awards were announced by UEFA on Friday, two days after Eintracht's final shootout triumph against Rangers.

Wing-backs Filip Kostic and Ansgar Knauff earned individual recognition, the former the player of the season and the latter the young player of the season.

But there was no room for Knauff in the best XI, with Rangers captain James Tavernier, the competition's leading scorer, preferred.

Tavernier had two Rangers colleagues in the team in Calvin Bassey and Ryan Kent, yet Kostic was one of four Eintracht players.

Penalty heroes Kevin Trapp and Rafael Borre made the cut, alongside defender Martin Hinteregger.

Perhaps the two biggest names included were beaten semi-finalists, however, with Rice and Nkunku – both set to be the subject of close-season transfer speculation – recognised.

Departing Napoli great Lorenzo Insigne did not make the side but was awarded the goal of the season his stunning strike against Legia Warsaw.

Europa League team of the season:

Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Craig Dawson (West Ham), Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt), Calvin Bassey (Rangers); James Tavernier (Rangers), Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig), Declan Rice (West Ham), Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt); Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig), Rafael Borre (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ryan Kent (Rangers).

An elated Kevin Trapp declared Wednesday the best day of his career, after Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Rangers in the Europa League final.

The Eagles had to come from a goal down after Joe Aribo's 57th minute opener, equalising through Rafael Borre to force extra-time before winning 5-4 in the penalty shootout.

After winning everything domestically in France over three seasons with Paris Saint-Germain, this is Trapp's first silverware with Eintracht Frankfurt over two stints at the club, only returning after their DFB Pokal win in 2018.

The 31-year-old was named player of the match and could not hide his joy, helping the German club win their first European trophy since 1980.

"I don’t have any words for that," Trapp said post-match. "I've tried to find them but it's impossible. We can present the trophy tomorrow in Frankfurt after 42 years. This is the best day of my career, truly. I'm so proud of our team.

"We were down and a lot of players had cramps. As I said, I have no words to describe this. We won a big international title – I thought I would cry. That didn’t happen, probably because it seems so unrealistic we're going home with a trophy. But for German football, I think we made everyone proud."

Trapp was a critical figure for Eintracht at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, spectacularly denying Ryan Kent from close range in the 118th minute, before then denying Aaron Ramsey to set up Borre's deciding penalty in the shootout.

The Kent save was palpably important with penalties looming, denying Rangers from scoring in what was their best chance of the match despite Aribo's opening goal.

Trapp believes he was fortunate to make that save, but it gave him the necessary psychological boost coming into the penalty shootout.

After Eintracht lost to Chelsea on penalties in the 2018-19 semi-final, he was confident they would not suffer from the spot again.

"It would have been awful to concede in that situation but that’s why I'm there, to help team when they need," Trapp said. "I try that, to make myself as big as possible, but I was lucky. He could’ve shot higher, but that's all I can do.

"If you survive such a situation you do have the feeling you can win, and I had that feeling because the players felt we had to win this one. We lost dramatically to Chelsea on penalties, and this year we said we deserved it. We put so much work in – we had to win it, and this is why we did win it in the end."

Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner believes his side cannot reach a higher level, despite their Europa League final win over Rangers on Wednesday ensuring Champions League football next season.

Glasner was full of praise for his side, who battled from a goal down following Joe Aribo's 57th minute opener for Rangers to equalise via Rafael Borre and force extra-time at 1-1, before claiming a 5-4 penalty shootout win.

With the Europa League triumph, Eintracht will play in Europe's premier cup competition for the first time since 1960 - where they eventually lost 7-3 in the final to Real Madrid – despite finishing 11th in the Bundesliga this season.

According to Glasner however, his side's mentality is already that of a top team and as a result, he did not have to provide much instruction during intervals as the match progressed.

"No, there is next level, it's impossible," Glasner said post-match. "I have to say a bit more about that. This year started difficult, but the players kept believing in themselves, what we told them, what we trained.

"That shows the character, mentality they have. The spirit developed, today we had players who weren’t eligible for Europe but they were never negative, they were not selfish, they did everything for success. That's why I wasn’t surprised that even when it was difficult, our fans were louder than Rangers' and they pushed us forward."

"I told the players the most important thing is that the referee doesn’t stress us, we have to control rhythm and I said just go do your thing like we've done so far, and that's it."

After an intense first half, Eintracht started to see more of the ball as the game slowed down but it did not translate into substantial opportunities and Aribo's opener could have further deflated their play.

The Eagles maintained in approach and eventually restored parity through Borre, beating Calvin Bassey to the ball and direct Filip Kostic's cross home in the 69th minute.

Glasner also singled out the 26-year-old Colombian, who scored the equaliser and winning penalty after Aaron Ramsey's attempt in the shootout was saved by Kevin Trapp, claiming the performance and outcome is reflective of the work he puts in.

"Rafa is incredibly important, not only the goals but he works hard even defensively and at half-time we showed the players some situations from the first half," Glasner said. "We didn’t have the intensity in attack and Rangers defended that well.

"We had to invest everything, attack the front post and he did that very well. He ran and then had a really good chance. He fought really hard – he deserved it. He was great. He really helps us and is also a leader."

Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst stood by his decision to bring Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey on as late substitutes following their penalties loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in Wednesday's Europa League final.

With scores locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Van Bronckhorst brought the two on in the 117th minute with penalties in mind. Ramsey was the only player to not convert his penalty, Kevin Trapp saving with his feet at 3-3, before Rafael Borre followed Roofe's spot-kick to secure a 5-4 shootout win for Eintracht.

It was the Gers' second Europa League final loss in as many appearances, following 2008's 2-0 loss to Zenit in Manchester.

According to Van Bronckhorst, despite evident disappointment in the changing rooms afterwards, his final list of penalty takers was impacted by a combination of factors including Borna Barisic's inability to take one of the penalties, and pre-match preparation.

"It was tough, physically, but the players gave everything and gave all their effort on the pitch," Van Bronckhorst said post-match. "I subbed some players because they were struggling physically, but I cannot complain. They gave everything and that's all you can ask as a coach.

"Borna had to go out and he's one of the first penalty kickers in the game. We trained in penalty kicks, because some players are comfortable taking them. We had a good feel of players who wanted to take a penalty and players who didn't. In the end we had our list and we had to adjust it because of the subs.

"You could see it after the game straight away, it's never a nice feeling. Everyone is very disappointed and you can sense that in the locker room. I think it's normal, so soon after the game, but Aaron took responsibility to take the penalty. Unfortunately he didn't make it, but you want players who are comfortable and who are ready to take them."

Rangers created sporadic opportunities, with Joe Aribo's 57th minute opener at the top of the penalty area one of their only four shots in the box.

The game petered after Borre's equaliser in the 69th, but Ryan Kent had the best chance to win the match in extra-time, only to be denied by Trapp from close range under pressure from Kristijan Jakic.

Ultimately, Van Bronckhorst asserted he could not fault the effort of his players, and understands their post-match predicament more than most.

"Especially in those minutes near the end of the game, it's decisive," he said. "It's a big chance for us, but Ryan did everything he can to score the goal. In the end, you know when you have chances you have to take them."

"If you play a final in Europe and you lose, it's going to hurt, because if you play a final you will do everything you can to win it. In the end, with penalties, it's a lottery and tonight we weren't on the good side.

"But I can't complain with everything my players gave and in the games before tonight. In the end, I think it was a really tight game. Went all the way to penalties and, you know, we lost. A big disappointment because we were so close to winning a trophy. I lost a World Cup final, the biggest game there is, also a huge disappointment but you have to move on."

It may not have been the electrifying classic some might have anticipated given the pre-match hysteria, but Eintracht Frankfurt won't care even a little.

Forty-two years after their last success on the European stage, Die Adler are Europa League champions; defeating Rangers on penalties in Seville after a 1-1 draw that saw both teams show a degree of desperation not to lose, rather than to win.

It's easy to understand that mentality as well. Eintracht's decades of underachievement may not have crippled them, but there was a sense it was playing on their minds.

Yet, ultimately it was they who held their nerve in the crucial penalty shootout – Aaron Ramsey's missed spot-kick prolonging Rangers' own European trophy dry spell.

In that regard, it didn't really matter which way the contest went – either way, one club was going to enjoy one of the all-time great nights in their history.

Neither had won a European trophy since Eintracht were victorious in the old UEFA Cup in 1980. Eight years before that, Rangers won the Cup Winners' Cup.

The Europa League may be looked down upon by some, but such barren runs and the generally surprising fact either team made it so far was what helped this contest resonate with so many.

And the Europa League's ability to inspire dreams of European success in fans who without it would likely never enjoy such a continental triumph is the true ethos of the competition.

Local police estimated 150,000 supporters were in Seville for the game, which was seemingly dubbed the 'fans' final'.

It was undoubtedly an apt moniker given the unequivocal impact the two sets of supporters have had on the teams' respective routes to Seville. Rangers had the 'Ibrox factor'; Eintracht turned the Camp Nou into a sea of white.

At times during the early stages on Wednesday, it felt as if Rangers were trying to stay afloat in a similar expanse of whiteness, such was the greater composure of Eintracht almost all over the pitch.

Eintracht were more effective with clever steals of possession and appeared to have considerably greater confidence receiving the ball under pressure, allowing quick transitions through the lines.

Chances flowed at first. Daichi Kamada danced through the Rangers defence and forced a point-blank save from Allan McGregor; Djibril Sow brought a stop from 20 yards on the rebound; and Ansgar Knauff looked destined to score after driving into the box.

But as Rafael Borre struggled to impose himself physically up top against what coach Oliver Glasner on Tuesday described as a "robust" Rangers, Eintracht's bizarre persistence to smash the ball long to him started to work against them.

This perhaps went some way to explaining how Frankfurt completed just seven passes to their opponents' 54 in the attacking half between the 22nd and 43rd minutes.

The Scots' confidence visibly grew as their grip on the contest improved.

Joe Aribo curled just wide. Ryan Jack drilled just over. Clear-cut chances they may not have been, but they were notable evidence of having settled after a shaky start.

An Eintracht flurry just after the interval promised greater entertainment, but the Bundesliga side showed no desire to heed the warnings of their only major area of concern, and it proved their undoing.

Borre was once again comfortably beaten in the air as Kevin Trapp hoofed the ball aimlessly up the pitch. Calvin Bassey's header was flicked on by Sow and Aribo took full advantage of Tuta pulling up injured to slide beyond the goalkeeper.

It's unclear if Eintracht reverted to type – by focusing on wing play – as a result of the shock of conceding, but it worked, with Borre finally allowed to showcase his best attribute: movement.

Filip Kostic played 140 more corners/crosses (519) than any other player from the top five European leagues this season before Wednesday, but this was arguably the sweetest.

Played low into the 'corridor of uncertainty', the Rangers defence didn't know what to do and Borre nipped in front of his marker to prod home.

As early as that point in the 69th minute, penalties appeared the most-likely outcome in the sweltering – even at 23:00 local time – conditions, though Rangers certainly did their best to ensure that wasn't the case, with Ryan Kent and James Tavernier almost nicking the win right near the end of extra-time.

From there, it came down to composure. Perhaps, given the way they eased into the game itself a little better, we shouldn't be surprised Eintracht prevailed even in the face of thousands of Rangers fans, with each one of their five penalties brilliantly precise.

Ramsey looked to the floor as Eintracht players, staff and officials swarmed onto the pitch in the wake of Borre's decisive kick.

Rangers' tale of rebirth has already been an extraordinary one. Ten years after finding themselves back at the bottom of the pile in Scottish football, they were in a second European final of the century.

But for a club deemed the third-biggest in Germany by virtue of support, it was high time a European trophy made its way back to Frankfurt.

Eintracht Frankfurt claimed their first European trophy in 42 years after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Rangers at the end of 1-1 draw in the Europa League final in Seville on Wednesday.

Oliver Glasner's side were playing in their first European final since they beat Borussia Monchengladbach in the same competition in 1980 and they fell behind in the 57th minute when Joe Aribo took full advantage of some slapstick defending.

The Bundesliga outfit forced extra time at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan 12 minutes later, however, courtesy of Rafael Borre's close-range finish.

Borre was the hero in the shoot-out as well, the Colombian slamming home the decisive spot-kick after Aaron Ramsey had seen his penalty saved by Kevin Trapp, who had brilliantly denied Ryan Kent late in extra time.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst can continue to take Rangers to new heights after their Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt, believes former Ibrox favourite Shota Arveladze.

The Scottish Premiership outfit are bidding for a second major European honour in their history, half a century on from their Cup Winners' Cup triumph, in Seville on Wednesday.

It marks an outstanding achievement for Van Bronckhorst, having only taken the reins from Steven Gerrard halfway through the season after the title-winning manager left for Aston Villa.

But the Dutchman, who enjoyed a three-year spell at Rangers as a player, could lift the team up another level with time, according to Arveladze.

"Gio shows every single game and every single day how [much] further he could bring the team, bring the club," the Hull City manager told Stats Perform.

"Credit to Gerrard, who did a good job before him, and which Gio continues, of course. That is Rangers, that is what we want. He is really [the] boss that knows what to do."

Rangers have turned over two Bundesliga sides already, in the shape of Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, to reach this week's showpiece encounter.

Arveladze feels they should have no fear in taking on one more, pointing to a superior record in such encounters as suggestion they can get under Eintracht's skin.

"I would say it has been fantastic," he added on their run and results. "I am always curious [about them] having a hard time against the German teams.

"But to be honest, except for Bayern Munich, I think Rangers [could] beat every German club this year. [They are] playing a fantastic game, an offensive game which is always great to see."

In a pre-match news conference lacking much talk of the opposition, there was one question that stood out in that regard ahead of Rangers' Europa League final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Gers captain James Tavernier was pointedly asked for his opinion on Eintracht wing-back Filip Kostic, given the pair are likely to see a lot of each other on the flank they'll share.

"Obviously I respect how he's been playing, he's a top player," Tavernier said. "But, I've just got to bring the best version of myself when the game starts and try to cause him all the problems, try to make him deal with me for the majority of the game. That's all I can really do."

Tavernier's response didn't offer any particularly great insight, but his mentality of wanting to cause Kostic as many problems was at least another identifier of how their duel could be such a key battle.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that Tavernier, a right-back, remarkably heads into Wednesday's game as the Europa League's top scorer on seven goals, and realistically – or, unrealistically – only a hat-trick from Eintracht's Daichi Kamada can prevent the Englishman from at least ending the season with a share of the competition's golden boot.

Further to that, he netted 19 times over the course of the 2020-21 season and could yet match that figure this term – he also has an impressive assists haul of 17.

If it needs reiterating, he's a huge contributor for Rangers in the final third.

So, given he's technically a right-back, there's obviously an element of Tavernier needing to be solid defensively on Wednesday, but some might suggest it's even more essential he's as sharp as ever going forward as that would not only give Rangers a credible threat on the right, but it would potentially keep Kostic occupied in a deeper position.

Granted, Eintracht's set-up with a back three should always ensure they have an extra man to cover for Kostic's runs forward, while the two attacking midfielders supporting Rafael Borre up top often occupy narrow, deeper berths in order to maximise the space out wide for their biggest threat.

Yet there's always the possibility of an overload in behind Kostic if the conditions are right, such is his attacking influence.

 

After all, the frequency at which Kostic delivers into the box is frankly astonishing. This season, he has been the executor of 519 crosses and corners, 140 more than any other player in the top five leagues – Trent Alexander-Arnold is second with 379.

Kostic's 78 successful crosses from open play is also a season-high. Of course, you would expect him to lead the way given he's attempted so many more than anyone else, but his 26.8 per cent accuracy (crosses/corners) is right in line with the average (among players with at least 100 attempted). That in itself is impressive given his greater frequency.

Another way of looking at it is, he is producing one accurate open-play cross every 45.4 minutes. While that may not sound incredible on the face of it, his 12.4 expected assists (xA) is the 10th highest among players in the top five leagues, highlighting just how much of a weapon he is in terms of his creative quality.

So, while he may be classed as a wing-back in terms of his position on a team line-up graphic, the Serbian is there for his attacking tendencies.

A cursory glance at his map of open-play chances created proves that point.

 

But Rangers must also be aware of the danger posed on the opposite flank.

Ansgar Knauff has been one of the stars of Eintracht's journey to the final, with the 20-year-old becoming something of a revelation in the past few months.

As recently as mid-January he was turning out for Borussia Dortmund's second team in the third tier. Then he joined Eintracht on loan and has since scored important Europa League goals against Barcelona and West Ham.

His impact on the road to Seville has been significant, with his brilliant athleticism, bravery and confidence on the ball making him a real asset on the right-hand side.

Before Knauff's arrival, Eintracht were rather lopsided, with their other options on the right far from convincing. Sure, Kostic remains their main outlet, but Knauff's emergence has provided them with another – albeit stylistically different – threat on the other side, giving them greater balance.

 

Across all competitions since his Eintracht debut in early February, only Kostic (5.6) and Jesper Lindstrom (2.6) have amassed better xA records than Knauff, who is also fifth to those two, Borre and Kamada in terms of xA and xG (expected goals) combined.

He may not be their deadliest weapon, but he's proven he can offer them a lot, and his team-high 61 dribble attempts in that period proves he's happy to make his markers work for their money.

Oliver Glasner's team is full of neat, technical players and is also blessed with fine work ethic, as it would need to be to play their high-pressing football.

But their width and desire to attack from the flanks is fundamental to how they play – while it may be easier said than done, limiting their effectiveness out wide would go a long way to ending Rangers' 50-year European trophy drought.

Oliver Glasner has prepared Eintracht Frankfurt to face "a mixture of Barcelona and West Ham" when they go up against Rangers in Wednesday's Europa League final.

Eintracht and Rangers both hope to end lengthy European trophy droughts when they tussle at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville on Wednesday.

The Germans last enjoyed such a success in 1980 when they won the UEFA Cup, while Rangers' most recent continental triumph came eight years earlier in the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Neither side was expected to reach the showpiece, with Eintracht impressively seeing off Barcelona before knocking out West Ham, while Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig were among the teams dispatched by Rangers.

Of course, both BVB and Leipzig enjoyed significantly superior seasons domestically than Eintracht, who ultimately finished 16 points behind the latter in fourth.

But he dismissed the importance of Rangers already beating two teams who are supposedly better than Die Adler.

"You can't do these calculations. If you win versus second and fourth in the Bundesliga then you are favourite because we were 11th in the Bundesliga? It doesn't matter. Both teams deserve to play this final," Glasner told reporters.

The Eintracht coach also seemingly believes the previous assignments against Barca and the Hammers will have put Eintracht in a good position to get to grips with what Rangers can offer.

"We've analysed Rangers – they're a mixture of West Ham and Barcelona," he added. "You can see the Dutch influence [of coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst] with the passing triangles, but [they have] a British mentality.

"We have to be in top form tomorrow. We are in great shape so we will be playing with lots of enthusiasm. The whole of Europe is looking forward to this match."

Asked to elaborate on what defines a "British mentality", Glasner said: "Rangers are a team that play lots of duels, and they are very robust in those duels.

"They have great desire to run back after losing ball, and not just the full-backs. [James] Tavernier is top scorer in Europa League, which shows he runs a lot; the defensive midfielders want to work hard there as well, they're always ready with this readiness to defend but also to go forward.

"That is combined with a very good [style of] football. They play fast with few contacts [direct], so this is how they scored their goals.

"They can cross early, against [Sporting] Braga and Leipzig they scored like this. This is the British mentality."

Sebastian Rode is a key man for Eintracht, with his experience and leadership on the pitch important commodities for Glasner.

While Rode has enjoyed a distinguished career, representing Dortmund and Bayern Much in the past, even he recognises Wednesday's final will be the pinnacle for him.

"This is the highlight of my career, it's one game and it'll be gigantic tomorrow," he said.

"We of course in the last few weeks have seen the euphoria. If you go shopping everyone talks about [their route to the final] and that everyone wants us to win.

"We get goosebumps thinking about that. Both fans will create a crazy atmosphere."

Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst is not worried about the lack of a so-called "Ibrox factor" in Wednesday's Europa League final, adamant Gers fans will more than contribute to the atmosphere in Seville.

Eintracht Frankfurt stand between Rangers and a first European trophy since 1972, when the Scottish giants won the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Van Bronckhorst's side have already exceeded expectations by reaching the showpiece, which will take place at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, home of six-time UEFA Cup/Europa League winners Sevilla.

Rangers' home form has been vital en route to the final, particularly in the context of their results on the road.

Gers have won only one Europa League game away from home this season, the 4-2 thriller at Borussia Dortmund in February, while their three European trips since then have all ended in defeat.

Yet Rangers have been spurred on by a raucous home crowd at Ibrox, particularly in the knockout phase – they have won each of their past three Europa League matches as hosts, scoring three in all of them.

Spanish police are expecting roughly 150,000 Rangers and Eintracht fans to be in Seville for Wednesday's game. As such, Van Bronckhorst is not worried about a lack of backing.

Asked how crucial the support will be, Van Bronckhorst told reporters: "It will be a factor because our fans are supporting us really well.

"Of course, Ibrox is a huge factor and in the ties we played this season in Europe we knew to get a good result away from home to take back to Ibrox [because] we are capable of winning against any team [at home].

"Of course, a final is different because it's only one game you play, not at Ibrox but in Seville, I think we'll both [Rangers and Eintracht] feel that.

"It's different, but still I think you will hear them a lot tomorrow, our fans, and I think our performances can be good as well, so I think we are ready and we'll play the way we always do and give everything we have to win this game."

The presence of Kemar Roofe certainly will not hurt Rangers' chances of success on Wednesday, with the striker back in contention following an injury.

Roofe hurt his knee last month as Rangers beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, and even as recently as last week Van Bronckhorst acknowledged the forward's participation in Seville was doubtful.

But the Dutchman confirmed Roofe is available to face Eintracht, with his involvement now just a selection matter.

"Kemar is available. He trained for the first time with us yesterday [Monday]," Van Bronckhorst added. "He did individual training before that, and he will be training with us [on Tuesday].

"He will be in the squad and I want to use him, he is available."

Roofe has scored 16 times for Rangers across all competitions this season despite not being a guaranteed starter – 16 of his 35 appearances have come from the bench.

The return of Roofe is made all the more important by Alfredo Morelos' absence through a long-term injury.

"Of course, it's a boost for us," Van Bronckhorst said. "He got injured a couple weeks ago when he was in a good spell.

"He's very important for team. I'm happy he's back because he was working hard to be ready for the Leipzig game.

"He didn't make it so we just extended [the season] for him with the final. He is here and he is ready to play his part."

Wednesday's Europa League final is set to attract over 150,000 Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers fans to Seville, despite well under a third of that total having tickets.

With neither club having won a continental trophy since Eintracht lifted the UEFA Cup in 1980, this final has truly captured the imagination of supporters who certainly wouldn't have had grand expectations of getting this far.

But for Rangers especially, there's an air of destiny about their journey to the final – or, more specifically, host city Seville.

While perhaps not obvious, Scottish football can claim several football links to Andalusia's capital.

Perhaps Rangers' passage – and potential victory – were meant to be…

Sevilla's Scottish roots

These links go back as far as 1890, when a group of British men in Seville celebrated Burns Night by founding Club de Football de Sevilla.

Edward Farguharson Johnston of Elgin and Hugh MacColl, from Glasgow, were among the club's founders, with the latter appointed as Sevilla's first ever captain.

Sevilla's founding and debut match were first described in The Dundee Courier six weeks after that fateful Burns Night, with Recreativo Huelva their opponents in the first official match ever played in Spain on March 8, 1890. Sevilla won 2-0.

While Recreativo were Spain's first sports club, the match against Sevilla makes Los Nervionenses – whose Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium provides the setting for Wednesday's final – the oldest club dedicated solely to football in the country.

And it's partly thanks to a Glaswegian.

Betis' homage to Celtic

A Spanish man named Manuel Asensio Ramos studied in Scotland as a young adult, taking on Celtic as his adopted club while he was there.

He later returned home to Spain and became one of the founding members of Real Betis, who subsequently donned green and white stripes as a tribute to Celtic from 1911.

Celtic had changed to their famous hoops eight years earlier, but the link was set in history.

Five years ago, Betis briefly switched to hoops for a match against Malaga to celebrate Andalusia Day, with Celtic communicating their delight at the club choosing "to wear the hoops for their special day".

The Bhoys from Seville

Of course, 2022 isn't the first time one of the Glasgow giants has been in Seville for a European final.

Nineteen years ago, Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final, facing Jose Mourinho's Porto at the Estadio La Cartuja on the outskirts of the city – that is also the location of Rangers' 'fan zone' this week.

'The Bhoys from Seville' was the nickname bestowed upon Celtic for the trip, with the tag a pun on their 'the Boys from Brazil' moniker.

Celtic ultimately lost 3-2 via the silver goal rule in extra time, but the occasion is still widely remembered fondly by the club and supporters, 80,000 of whom were said to be in Seville for the festivities.

Fans of the club were widely commended for their behaviour in the city, with UEFA and FIFA later awarding them Fair Play Awards.

Glasgow returns the favour

Four years after Seville played host to Celtic, Glasgow welcome Sevilla and Espanyol for the 2007 UEFA Cup final.

Hampden Park was the location of Sevilla's second successive triumph in the competition, beating their LaLiga rivals 3-1 on penalties after a gripping 2-2 draw over 120 minutes.

Despite Celtic's links to Betis, it was widely felt by Sevilla fans in attendance that Bhoys supporters were cheering on Los Nervionenses, while Rangers aficionados adopted Espanyol as their team.

Dani Alves was the only Sevilla player to miss his penalty, while Andres Palop in the Andalusians' net made three vital saves.

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner assured Evan Ndicka had not suffered an injury that would keep him out of the Europa League final after the defender hobbled off on Saturday.

Frankfurt's focus turns towards Wednesday's showpiece against Rangers in Seville after their Bundesliga campaign concluded with a 2-2 draw against Mainz.

But there was momentary concern during the final match of the league season as Ndicka had to be substituted.

Ndicka, who has been linked to both Manchester United and Newcastle United, will have a key role to play if Frankfurt are to beat Rangers to the trophy.

And Glasner had positive news on the 22-year-old's condition afterwards, saying: "It's nothing bad – he has blisters on his feet. Everyone came out well."

The coach confirmed all his players were "fit" following the match – including, perhaps, midfielder Jesper Lindstrom, who has not played since the European semi-final first leg against West Ham due to a hamstring injury.

"He looks pretty good," Glasner said. "Everything is going according to plan."

However, he wants to see Lindstrom on the training pitch in the coming days if the Denmark international is to play any part in midweek.

"Only from the couch and from the massage table, it is not possible," Glasner added.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst hopes to buck history when Rangers face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final, as he aims to become just the second manager to win a European trophy at the club.

The Dutchman will lead the Scottish Premier League giants in Seville next Wednesday against their Bundesliga rivals as the famous Glasgow club bid for only a second continental trophy.

Rangers were beaten by Zenit in the UEFA Cup final in Manchester 14 years ago

Their only previous taste of European glory came in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final, which they won under Willie Waddell with a defeat of Dynamo Moscow in Barcelona.

Half a century on, Van Bronckhorst could repeat the feat with a triumph in Spain, and the Rangers boss is desperate to lift the trophy.

"It means a lot," he told a press conference. "There aren't many managers in the history of this club who played a European final.

"There's only one who actually won it. For the club, it would be fantastic to win a second prize in Europe."

Referring to the lack of European success for Scottish clubs, the Dutchman added: "It's not often you play finals, it's not often you play finals in Europe as a Scottish team.

"It's very rare that it happens. We're really honoured and proud that we are in the final in Seville, and can enjoy this occasion with many fans all around the world.

"We're representing this beautiful club, we're representing Scotland, so we have to make sure we give a good impression, and that's what we want to do."

Touching on his side's impressive exploits in beating RB Leipzig to reach the final, Van Bronckhorst says the memory will live him with a long time, while stressing the job is not yet done.

"The Leipzig game was one of the best nights I've experienced as a player and a manager," he added. "But it is very important that we keep going.

"The last two games we've played, against Dundee United and Ross County, we didn't relax because we need the same intensity, the same desire to play against Frankfurt.

"I don't want my players to slip up. Saturday [when Rangers play Hearts] is a bit different, because we're going to change some players, but I think we're ready for the final. That's all that matters now."

The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool will be refereed by Clement Turpin, UEFA has announced.

Liverpool overcame Villarreal in the semi-finals, while Madrid edged past Manchester City in dramatic fashion to reach the showpiece of UEFA's flagship club competition in Paris on May 28.

Turpin, who has been an international referee since 2010, will officiate his first Champions League final.

The Frenchman previously served as fourth official in the 2018 showpiece in Kyiv, where Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1.

Turpin, who refereed last season's Europa League final in which Villarreal defeated Manchester United on penalties, will be joined by compatriots Nicolas Danos and Cyril Gringore as his assistants.

Continuing with the French theme, Benoit Bastien will be fourth official and Jerome Brisard will lead the VAR team, which also includes Frenchman Willy Delajod and two Italians, Massimiliano Irrati and Filippo Meli.

In the Europa League final between Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18, Slovenian Slavko Vincic will be the man in the middle with compatriots Tomaz Klancnik and Andraz Kovacic on the line.

Meanwhile, Romanian Istvan Kovacs will take charge of his first UEFA club competition final when he officiates the Europa Conference League final, which sees Roma face Feyenoord at Arena Kombtare in Albania on May 25.

Kovacs will be joined by fellow countrymen Vasile Florin Marinescu and Mihai-Ovidiu Artene.

An overjoyed Oliver Glasner praised his side's ability to withstand a resilient West Ham, as Eintracht Frankfurt qualified for the Europa League final on Thursday.

Carrying a slender 2-1 lead on aggregate into Thursday's second leg, Eintracht gave themselves critical breathing room with Rafael Borre's 26th-minute goal, eventually winning 1-0 on the night and going through 3-1 over the tie.

Even with West Ham needing to chase the game, Aaron Cresswell's first-half dismissal meant Eintracht had the majority of possession, yet they still gave up higher-quality chances. A 10-man West Ham actually generated a higher xG of 1.62 in comparison to the hosts' 1.13 over the 90 minutes.

Nevertheless, Glasner was proud of his team's defensive effort.

“Slowly something is falling into place," he said post-match. "What the team did again was unbelievable. West Ham threw everything in the balance of the game.

"It was a difficult early phase and with West Ham facing elimination we played really well and scored a great goal. In the second half we defended the long balls and set pieces with everything we had.

"We said to the players: 'I don't know if you are the best players or if we are the best coaches. But we are exceptional as a group and together we can be the best.' It was a wonderful evening."

With the win, Eintracht secured their first European final in 42 years, when they won the UEFA Cup in the 1979-80.

Despite a fiercely contested game which saw eight yellow cards and two red cards, including the dismissal of West Ham boss David Moyes, the final whistle saw fans at the Deutsche Bank Park flood the pitch in jubilant scenes.

Following the match, Glasner did not hide or play down the gravity of the occasion or what awaits in Seville.

"It's the best thing when you can make so many people happy," he said. "There is always tension in the game.

"I saw yesterday that you can lead 1-0 in the 90th minute and then be 2-1 behind two minutes later. If that can happen to Manchester City, it can happen anywhere, anytime. After that, this recognition is wonderful after the final whistle. It's an evening you'll never forget.

“I said in the dressing room that I don’t even know what to say before [Borussia Monchengladbach] in three days. For us, it’s all about this final.”

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