Final rivals seek European first

Middlesbrough FC and Sevilla FC will both be seeking to claim a first European trophy as they meet in the UEFA Cup final at the PSV Stadion in Eindhoven.

Middlesbrough FC and Sevilla FC will both be seeking to claim a first European trophy as they meet in the UEFA Cup final at the PSV Stadion in Eindhoven. This is uncharted territory for the clubs with Middlesbrough in only their second season of UEFA competition while the Spanish side's best previous performance came in the 1957/58 European Champion Clubs' Cup when they reached the quarter-finals, only to lose 10-2 on aggregate to eventual winners Real Madrid CF.

• Having played only 16 previous ties in UEFA competition, it is little surprise that Middlesbrough have met Spanish opposition only once previously. That game resulted in a 2-0 defeat away to Villarreal CF in last season's group stage, with Antonio Guayre and Javi Venta scoring at the end of each half to give the Primera División club victory at El Madrigal.

• The English side went on to reach the Round of 16 last season, their first in European competition, before losing 4-2 on aggregate to eventual finalists Sporting Clube de Portugal. A seventh-placed Premiership finish at the end of 2004/05 earned another tilt at the UEFA Cup and Middlesbrough began their second campaign in solid fashion as goals from George Boateng and Mark Viduka earned a 2-0 first-leg success at home to Skoda Xanthi FC in the first round, and their place in the group stage was assured by a goalless draw in Greece in the return.

• Middlesbrough began Group D with a 1-0 win at Grasshopper-Club thanks to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's strike before FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk were defeated 3-0 at the Riverside stadium with Viduka's second-half double adding to Yakubu Ayegbeni's opener. The English side then ground out a goalless draw at AZ Alkmaar on Matchday 3 to become the first side to book their place in the knockout stages and first place in the section was assured in the final round of fixtures as two late Massimo Maccarone strikes defeated PFC Litex Lovech.

• Middlesbrough had kept a clean sheet in each of their first six fixtures and took a firm grip on their Round of 32 tie with VfB Stuttgart thanks to goals in Germany from Hasselbaink and Stuart Parnaby. Although the Bundesliga team pulled a goal back and scored early in the return fixture at the Riverside, Middlesbrough held firm to progress and showed their defensive strength again against AS Roma in the last 16. Yakubu got the only goal of the home match from the penalty spot and when Hasselbaink headed in at the Stadio Olimpico the team from Teesside were on their way to the quarter-finals, although they had to withstand a fierce late charge from the Italian club before progressing on away goals.

• Middlesbrough met another Swiss side, FC Basel 1893, in the last eight and having lost 2-0 at Saint Jakob Park, they looked to be heading out of the competition when Basel scored again early in the second leg. Viduka restored parity on the night before half-time, however, and found the net again 12 minutes into the second period before Hasselbaink tied the scores on aggregate with eleven minutes remaining. Middlesbrough still needed another goal to progress, however, and Maccarone provided it seconds before the final whistle to spark jubilant scenes.

• A semi-final with FC Steaua Bucuresti was their reward and once more the away leg was lost, 1-0 on this occasion. The Romanian club followed up by scoring twice in the first quarter at the Riverside stadium to leave Middlesbrough once more having to score four to stay in the competition. Maccarone began the comeback in the 33rd minute and Viduka headed a second just past the hour. Chris Riggott slid in the third with 17 minutes left and Maccarone once more snatched the headlines with an 89th-minute header that sent his side to Eindhoven.

• Sevilla have likewise met opponents from England on only one occasion, and that came this season in the group stage. Juande Ramos' side travelled to Bolton Wanderers FC on Matchday 5 and came away from the Reebok stadium with a 1-1 draw, Adriano Correia striking to earn a draw 16 minutes from time.

• Sevilla had opened their UEFA Cup campaign this season with a 2-0 aggregate win against 1. FSV Mainz 05, Frédéric Kanouté scoring twice in Germany after the two sides had shared a goalless draw in Spain. The Primera División outfit were drawn in Group H and began in style with a 3-0 dismantling of Beşiktaş JK, Kanouté finding the net twice more after Javier Saviola had opened the scoring. Although Sevilla's next fixture, a trip to FC Zenit St. Petersburg, resulted in a 2-1 defeat as Saviola's 90th-minute effort came too late too affect the outcome, Vitória SC were then defeated 3-1 at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium with Saviola getting two more and Adriano the other before the draw at Bolton took the Spanish side into the last 32 as Group H winners.

• That brought a tie against FC Lokomotiv Moskva, who were defeated 1-0 on home soil through a Jordi López goal which was added to by Enzo Maresca and Antonio Puerta in the return to complete a 3-0 aggregate success. LOSC Lille Métropole then earned a 1-0 home win in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie but first-half goals from Kanouté and Luis Fabiano turned the second leg in Sevilla's favour and the Spanish side held on to reach the last eight.

• There they met Zenit once more, but this time the task proved relatively straightforward. A 4-1 first-leg win at home, with Saviola scoring twice and José Luis Martí and Adriano once each left Sevilla on the brink of the semi-finals and Kepa Blanco’s equaliser in Russia ensured a 5-2 aggregate success. The last-four encounter with FC Schalke 04 proved a closer contest as the first game in Germany finished goalless, which was also the case after 90 minutes in Spain before Puerta's goal eleven minutes into extra time took Sevilla through.

• The current season represents Sevilla's eighth foray into UEFA competition, with six of those coming in the UEFA Cup and a solitary season in both the European Champion Clubs' Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. They reached the same stage of the competition as Middlesbrough last season, bowing out 1-0 on aggregate against Parma FC in the Round of 16.

• The only other time that an English club has faced a Spanish side in the UEFA Cup final was the 2000/01 final in Dortmund, when Liverpool FC were 5-4 winners after extra time against Deportivo Alavés.

• Overall, England has claimed the trophy on six occasions, while Spain has three triumphs. Italy is the most successful nation in the history of the competition with nine wins.

• Eindhoven was awarded the 2005/06 final after a decision by UEFA's Executive Committee at its meeting in Tallinn, Estonia in April 2005. The PSV Stadion has never hosted a major one-off club final, but did stage the second leg of the 1978 UEFA Cup final when PSV defeated SC Bastia 3-0 to claim the trophy.

• Two other Dutch cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, have hosted 12 European club finals between them. Hampden Park in Glasgow will be the venue for next season's showpiece, which will be the first time Scotland's national stadium and home of Queen's Park FC has held a UEFA Cup final. The Glasgow ground - whose capacity is 52,000 - staged the 1960, 1976 and 2002 European Champions Clubs' Cup finals as well as the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup finals in 1962 and 1966.

• The winners in Eindhoven will play the UEFA Champions League holders in the UEFA Super Cup at the Stade Louis II in Monaco on Friday 25 August. The match is the traditional curtain-raiser to the new European club football season.

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