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The greatest Europa League knockout ties

Published: Monday 2 May 2016, 11.15CET
Liverpool's quarter-final success against Dortmund has made our all-time list, but Sevilla and Villarreal have played in classics too, as reveals.

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Published: Monday 2 May 2016, 11.15CET

The greatest Europa League knockout ties

Liverpool's quarter-final success against Dortmund has made our all-time list, but Sevilla and Villarreal have played in classics too, as reveals.

There is no shortage of drama on Thursday nights; selects some unforgettable UEFA Europa League ties.

Valencia 1-1 Werder Bremen
Werder Bremen 4-4 Valencia (agg: 5-5, Valencia win on away goals)
2009/10, round of 16
A 1-1 first-leg draw at Mestalla offered little indication of things to come as this last-16 tie concluded in Germany. Valencia's David Villa was the star of the show, breaking the deadlock after three minutes and going on to claim a hat-trick. But Werder would not lie down. Any time the Spanish side thought they were in the clear, Bremen would reappear like a horror movie villain.

"It was the craziest game I've ever played in," said Villa after his team had hung on for an away-goals victory following Claudio Pizarro's equaliser six minutes from time. "There were so many chances, there should have been even more goals. It was like playing when I was a kid at school."

The best Europa League knockout ties

Juventus 3-1 Fulham
Fulham 4-1 Juventus (agg: 5-4)
2009/10 round of 16
Fulham were meant to throw in the towel after losing 3-1 in Turin in the opening instalment of this round of 16 tie. And when David Trezeguet put the Bianconeri ahead at Craven Cottage inside two minutes, Roy Hodgson's men definitely looked doomed. Bobby Zamora replied soon enough and Fabio Cannavaro was dismissed inside the half-hour, yet Fulham still needed two more goals merely to force extra time.

Zoltán Gera got the first just before half-time and the second soon after, but the outright winner required something special. Clint Dempsey duly provided it with a sumptuous chip. "I was wondering whether to shoot or try to dink it towards the far post," said Dempsey. "So I just went with it. Nine times out of ten I don't think I'd have hit it as well."

Hamburg 3-1 Anderlecht
Anderlecht 4-3 Hamburg (agg: 5-6)
2009/10 round of 16
Pushed all the way by PSV in the round of 32, Hamburg appeared set for an easier ride in the last 16 as goals from Joris Mathijsen, Ruud van Nistelrooy and captain David Jarolím earned a healthy 3-1 first-leg lead. Indeed they were seemingly cruising into the quarter-finals after Jérôme Boateng's 42nd-minute opener in Brussels, only for Romelu Lukaku's header and a Matías Suárez penalty to fire Anderlecht in front before the interval.

If Marcell Jansen's early second-half strike dampened home hopes of a remarkable comeback, subsequent efforts from Lucas Biglia and Mbark Boussoufa left Anderlecht a goal away from qualification. Hamburg were on the rack – until Mladen Petrić's cool finish finally clinched their progress. "Incredible," midfielder Marcell Jansen told "It was a crazy game."

Here's one we made earlier ... 2001 final thriller

Porto 5-1 Villarreal
Villarreal 3-2 Porto (agg: 4-7)
2010/11 semi-finals
Still riding the crest of a wave following their 10-3 aggregate triumph over Spartak Moskva in the quarter-finals, Porto all but secured a place in the Dublin showpiece with a 5-1 first-leg win at home to Villarreal. Though the Yellow Submarine led at the break in Portugal, they could scarcely have prepared for Radamel Falcao plundering four goals in a stunning second-half performance.

"My job is to score the goals which take the stress away from the team, to make matches easier," Falcao said after the semi-final second leg at El Madrigal, where late strikes from Joan Capdevila and Giuseppe Rossi restored some respectability to the scoreline. "I just need to keep doing that." He did – with the only goal of the final.

Manchester United 2-3 Athletic Club
Athletic Club 2-1 Manchester United (agg: 5-3)
2011/12 round of 16
This competition, to some observers at least, was there for the taking for United after transferring from the UEFA Champions League. Ajax were dispatched in the round of 32, but Sir Alex Ferguson's side had not bargained for such enterprising opponents in the last 16. Wayne Rooney hit two at Old Trafford yet Athletic scored three times in between to record a historic first victory on English soil.

Fernando Llorente – with a glorious volley – and Óscar De Marcos were on target in a similarly energetic display in Bilbao, making Rooney's late drive a mere consolation. "We played two fantastic legs," concluded De Marcos. "We really enjoyed ourselves, each and every one of us played and combined well on the pitch – that was the key."

Sevilla's greatest goals

Sevilla 2-0 Valencia
Valencia 3-1 Sevilla (agg: 3-3, Sevilla win on away goals)
2013/14 semi-finals
Sevilla lifted the trophy for the third time in 2014 but it is easy to forget how close they came to elimination. Four minutes into added time in the semi-final return leg it was Valencia who were set to line up against Benfica in Turin after an incredible fightback. Stéphane Mbia had other ideas, though, planting a firm header from a flick-on to send the visitors through. "There aren't words to explain tonight," said Ivan Rakitić, summing it up nicely.

That it came to this was no surprise – both teams had history for drama. Sevilla needed penalties to oust city-rivals Real Betis in the round of 16 while Valencia had overturned a 3-0 first-leg defeat by Basel in the last eight. Sevilla's subsequent 2-0 home success was therefore no guarantee and so it proved as the advantage was erased inside 26 minutes. Jéremy Mathieu's second-half strike then looked to have settled it – until Mbia struck.

Sevilla's road to the 2014/15 Europa League final

Sevilla 2-1 Zenit
Zenit 2-2 Sevilla (agg: 3-4)
2014/15 quarter-finals
Deja vu for Sevilla. Once again Unai Emery's men proceeded to land the trophy – this time in Warsaw – but once again they had a scare along the way. They were well placed after the first leg of this quarter-final tie, substitute Denis Suárez's 88th-minute volley giving them a 2-1 cushion to take to Russia.

Yet while Carlos Bacca's sixth-minute penalty in St Petersburg then made it 3-1 overall, the hosts so nearly forced extra time courtesy of second-half goals from José Rondón and Hulk. Kevin Gameiro eventually netted with five minutes left to get Sevilla over the line. predicted then that the Andalusians "may be better for" such a scare – so it transpired just over a month later.

How Liverpool eliminated Dortmund

Dortmund 1-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 4-3 Dortmund (agg: 5-4)
2015/16 quarter-finals
If a 1-1 draw back at his old club appeared a great first-leg result for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, his side were 2-0 down after ten minutes at Anfield – and conceded again after Divock Origi had reduced the deficit. Salvation, though, was at hand: Philippe Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho made it 3-3 on the night, before Dejan Lovren headed the stoppage-time clincher.

"The coach said we had to create a moment to tell our grandchildren and make a special night for the fans," said Origi, recalling Klopp's half-time team talk. "In football, as in life, that is the moment where you have to show character," said Klopp of going 3-1 down. "That's what the lads did. It was pretty cool to watch."

Last updated: 02/05/16 11.28CET

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