Sevilla FC midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak tells UEFA.com about his dream final in Warsaw, his most memorable encounter at the National Stadium and life in Spain.
Article top media content
The last Polish player still in contention to lift the UEFA Europa League trophy in his homeland, Sevilla FC's Grzegorz Krychowiak is aiming to cap a superb first season in Spain by helping the holders defend their title in Warsaw.
Having turned out for FC Girondins de Bordeaux, FC Nantes (loan) and Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 – the 25-year-old left France to join Sevilla for a reported €4.5m fee last summer. A regular in the Liga side, Krychowiak has impressed in Europe too, scoring his first goal for his new club against Feyenoord in the group stage.
UEFA.com: The UEFA Europa League final is being staged at the National Stadium in Warsaw. What would it be like to play in the final with Sevilla?
Grzegorz Krychowiak: To play in a European final in your home country is an amazing thing. We will do everything we can to get there, but we know there is still a very long way to go. There are a lot of great teams that have the same aim. We have enough experienced players and a good team. We can do it. We know repeating last season's success will be very difficult, but we will fight to get there.
UEFA.com: Tell us your most memorable match for Poland at the venue.
Krychowiak: Our last victory there, against Germany [in UEFA EURO 2016 Group D] – it was the first time we had beaten them in history, and we enhanced our qualification hopes. I get goosebumps every time we play at home.
UEFA.com: You made the switch to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in 2014 after a two-year spell at Reims. Has it been difficult to adapt to Spanish football?
Krychowiak: I'm an ambitious player, and my aim was to improve my skills – that's why I moved to Spain. The standard is higher in the Spanish Liga. Sevilla, with their emphasis on technique and possession, will help me develop as a player.
UEFA.com: Sevilla won the European trophy for a record-equalling third time in 2014. Are you aiming to retain it this term?
Krychowiak: We battle every year to win the biggest prizes, and one of those is the UEFA Europa League. Looking at the achievements of this club – winners in 2005/06, 2006/07 and last season – why can't we do it again this year? But in order to win the final, you need something extra.
UEFA.com: Sevilla faced, and overcame VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in the first knockout stage. Was the 4-2 aggregate success the best performance in this campaign?
Krychowiak: Gladbach were a great team to play against, and tough to beat. They played a Spanish style of football and kept possession well. We had to give 100% to progress – they were two difficult matches.
UEFA.com: Vitolo scored the fastest goal in UEFA Europa League history in the next round against Liga rivals Villarreal CF. How important was that away goal in the first leg?
Krychowiak: It's simple: if you score first and you score early, the match is in your hands. Villarreal hit the crossbar minutes later, and could have made it 1-1. But our approach ensured we weathered the storm for the entire 90 minutes.
UEFA.com: Your coach Unai Emery won the competition last year, while his former side – Valencia CF – were regular contenders. Tell us about his management style.
Krychowiak: He pays attention to the details. He's fully committed to his profession, and prepares us well for every single match – focusing on set pieces and studying our opponents. Thanks to him, I now understand the words 'respect' and 'hard work' much better. He is the right man for this job.
Sevilla host ACF Fiorentina in the semi-final first leg next Thursday.