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Polish hopefuls home in on Warsaw finals

The UEFA Europa League final takes place in Warsaw and, as Piotr Koźmiński discovers, three Polish players are still aiming to pick up the trophy in their homeland.

Grzegorz Krychowiak would love to come back to Warsaw with Sevilla
Grzegorz Krychowiak would love to come back to Warsaw with Sevilla ©Getty Images

When Legia Warsawa lost to AFC Ajax in the last 32, a dream died. No Polish side has appeared in a UEFA club competition final since Górnik Zabrze lost out to Manchester City FC in the 1970 European Cup Winners' Cup decider in Vienna.

With this season's UEFA Europa League final taking place at Warsaw's National Stadium on 27 May, it would have been a great time to end to that long wait. However, as the quarter-finals get under way, fans in Poland can turn their attentions to the hopes of three local players who might still make it to the decider.

Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla FC)
Krychowiak and Teodorczyk are familiar with the stadium as regulars with the senior national team, and the Sevilla man made no secret of how much it would mean to defend the title with his side in Warsaw.

"To take part in such special game in such a unique place would realise a big dream," said the 25-year-old defensive midfielder, who joined Sevilla last summer having spent his entire professional career in France with FC Girondins de Bordeaux, FC Nantes and Stade de Reims.

"It would be amazing for the club to defend the title they won last year and for me – to get it for the first time, in my home country, would be really something. But I cannot start thinking about the final yet as we still have a way to go."

Sevilla's greatest European goals
Sevilla's greatest European goals

FC Zenit are next up for 'Krycha', who has been keeping extremely busy off the field. He was working as a model for an Italian clothes company before Christmas, and recently gained a diploma from Lyon University which will enable him to work as a sporting director in future.

He is also overseeing the building of a new house in Seville – a sure sign that he is aiming on settling long-term. Krychowiak scored his first goal for his new club against Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League group stage, and has played in 27 of their 31 Liga games in 2014/15.

Łukasz Teodorczyk, FC Dynamo Kyiv
The 23-year-old Teodorczyk has been used a little more sparingly in his first season at Dynamo – the only games where he has played a full 90 minutes have been in the Ukrainian Cup – but a goal in each of his last four matches for the club suggests that things are looking up for the summer signing from KKS Lech Poznań.

'Teo' knows Warsaw well having made his name with KSP Polonia Warszawa, and registered his first Poland goal in a 5-0 win against San Marino at the National Stadium on 26 March 2013.

Having scored within seconds of coming off the bench against FC Steaua Bucureşti in his first appearance in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, Teodorczyk has been making limited playing time count: 180 minutes played in the course of four matches, three goals scored.

Oskar Zawada, VfL Wolfsburg
That is a record that the 19-year-old Zawada can only hope to emulate one day. The under-19 international known as the 'Polish Cavani' has yet to make his senior debut for his club, but (as a B-list player) could still be a UEFA Europa League finalist in Warsaw.

Łukasz Teodorczyk has been supremely efficient for Dynamo
Łukasz Teodorczyk has been supremely efficient for Dynamo©AFP/Getty Images