Europa League: are these the games of the season?

Great goals and endless drama are a given in the UEFA Europa League. Remember these?

Slavia celebrate their exhausting win against Sevilla
Slavia celebrate their exhausting win against Sevilla ©AFP/Getty Images

The UEFA Europa League cannot match the universal appeal of the UEFA Champions League, but when it comes to drama and superb finishes, the competition fights well above its weight.

As we look forward to the final in Baku, UEFA.com has made its selection of the best of the 206 games since the start of the group stage; watch and marvel.

Leipzig 2-3 Salzburg

20/09/18, group stage matchday one

Highlights: Leipzig 2-3 Salzburg
Highlights: Leipzig 2-3 Salzburg

"That's my job as a striker!" said Fredrik Gulbrandsen, who came off the bench to rescue a deteriorating situation for Salzburg with an 89th-minute winner. The Austrian side looked to be cruising to an opening-day victory, having taken a 2-0 first-half lead, but might have bucked entirely after Leipzig pulled it back to 2-2 with eight minutes left.

Must-see moment: The two back-heels that lead to Gulbrandsen's winner.

Spartak Moskva 4-3 Rangers

08/11/18, group stage matchday three

Highlights: Spartak Moskva 4-3 Rangers
Highlights: Spartak Moskva 4-3 Rangers

Stand-in coach Raúl Riancho thanked the home crowd for encouraging his team to "grow wings" after Steven Gerrard's 11-game unbeaten UEFA Europa League run came to a halt in Moscow. Spartak fell behind three times in the first half in Moscow, but went for broke after the restart, Luiz Adriano and Sofiane Hanni striking within the space of two minutes to seal victory.

Must-see moment: Daniel Candeias's control and turn for Rangers' second.

Olympiacos 3-1 Milan

13/12/18, group stage matchday six

Highlights: Olympiacos 3-1 Milan
Highlights: Olympiacos 3-1 Milan

The Piraeus club knew that their only way to the last 32 was to beat AC Milan 2-0, 3-1 or by three goals; it was 0-0 after 60 minutes, so they had cause to despair. However, a scrappy Pape Abou Cissé goal sparked a revival in fortunes, the fairytale completed by captain Kostas Fortounis's clincher from the spot. "It sure is a career[-defining] goal," he said as the supporters celebrated. "I will always remember it."

Must-see moment: Cristián Zapata's own goal for Olympiacos's second.

Lazio 1-2 Frankfurt

14/12/18, group stage matchday six

Highlights: Lazio 1-2 Frankfurt
Highlights: Lazio 1-2 Frankfurt

Back in Europe after a five-year absence, Frankfurt confirmed their class by winning a sixth group game in succession, despite trailing in Rome. A sizeable travelling contingent enjoyed the opportunity to sing club anthem In the Heart of Europe, and it was not the last time they crossed the Alps to earn a famous scalp; they returned to beat Internazionale 1-0 in the round of 16.

Must-see moment: Mijat Gaćinović's glorious leveller from distance.

Slavia Praha 4-3 Sevilla

14/03/19, round of 16 second leg

Highlights: Slavia Praha 4-3 Sevilla
Highlights: Slavia Praha 4-3 Sevilla

Having drawn 2-2 in Spain, Slavia looked to have blown it when the five-time competition winners made it 2-2 in Prague, then forged ahead in extra time. Not so, an agonising Simon Kjær own goal turning the tie. "To get the winner against such a strong team in the dying minutes of extra time: what more could we wish for?" said Slavia boss Jindřich Trpišovský. "This may not happen again in my life."

Must-see moment: Munir's thunderous volley for Sevilla to make it 2-2.

Chelsea 4-3 Slavia Praha

18/04/19, quarter-final second leg

Highlights: Chelsea 4-3 Slavia
Highlights: Chelsea 4-3 Slavia

"We must be proud," said Slavia skipper Tomáš Souček after his unfancied side gave the 2013 winners an almighty fright. Chelsea were 1-0 victors in Prague and, 4-1 up at half-time in the Stamford Bridge return after a Pedro double, looked to be coasting towards the last four.

Souček's header had given the Czech club some hope, however, and when Petr Ševčík thundered in two long-range strikes early in the second half, the visiting fans started to dream of another famous turnaround. Former Chelsea winger Miroslav Stoch came close to tearing up the script in the closing stages, but the Blues held on – just.

Must-see moment: Ševčík's long-range second goal – Slavia's third – that fired hope of an improbable comeback.

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