European football returned to our screens this week, with all three of UEFA’s elite competitions – namely the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League – all taking center stage. In the UCL, there were big victories for both Bayern Munich and their compatriots Borussia Dortmund, who beat Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea respectively.
But it isn’t European football’s number-one competition that we’re looking into. It’s often overlooked younger brother, the Europa League. For years, the formerly named UEFA Cup has been slandered by trolls on football Twitter. However, the Europa League has been thrilling fans around the world since 1972 and this year, the competition has some huge teams playing on Thursday nights, including Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona, and Juventus.
Over the years, there have been some truly remarkable teams that have made their mark on European football history. Online betting sites – some of which allow you to place sports bets, while others provide the option to explore table casino games online – have made Arsenal the favorites to lift the trophy this season.
The Gunners, however, do not have any pedigree in the competition, they have reached the final twice but were defeated on both occasions. They were beaten by Galatasaray in Copenhagen in 2000, before losing to Chelsea in Baku in 2019. So which teams are the most successful in the history of Europe’s secondary tournament?
Sevilla FC – 6 Titles
Sevilla are the most successful team in UEFA Europa League history, having won a record six titles, al of which have come since 2006. They truly have made the competition their own, and they will be aiming to break their own record by winning it for a seventh time this season. Even more impressively, the Spanish club has never lost a final and boast a 100% record in the showpiece game.
Their first title came in 2006 when they beat Middlesbrough in Eindhoven. Goals from Luis Fabiano and three goals in the last 12 minutes from Vicenzo Maresca (2) and Frédéric Kanouté secured a 4-0 victory. They would successfully retain the trophy one year later when they beat compatriots Espanyol on penalties in Glasgow.
The Andalusians were made to wait seven years for their next success, but once they had a taste, they couldn’t give it up. They would win three consecutive Europa Leagues between 2014 and 2016. They firstly defeated Benfica on penalties in 2014, before once again retaining the trophy with a victory against Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 2015, before making it a threepeat with a come-from-behind victory over Liverpool the following year.
Their sixth success came in 2020 when they defeated Inter Milan in Cologne.
Atletico Madrid – 3 Titles
Atletico Madrid are another Spanish team with a rich history in European football having won three UEFA Europa League trophies since 2010. They first lifted the trophy in 2010 when they beat Fulham 2-1 thanks to a brace from Uruguayan hitman Diego Forlan.
Their second title came just two years later when the brilliant Radamel Falcao scored twice to secure a 3-0 victory against fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao. Their Colombian striker was in devastating form that season, bagging 12 goals throughout the competition.
Their third and final success came six years later when they defeated Marseille 3-0 in Lyon. A brace from Antoine Griezmann and a goal from captain Gabi were good enough to secure the victory.
Atletico have also twice reached the Champions League final in the last decade however, they came out on the losing side on both occasions. And painfully, they lost to their city rivals Real Madrid on both occasions.
Liverpool – 3 Titles
Football is almost like religion in England, and Liverpool are the countries most successful club. They they have lifted a whopping 68 trophies throughout their illustrious history and three of those successes have come in the UEFA Europa League.
Their first victory came in 1973 when they defeated 3-2 on aggregate after the tie was played across two legs. They won the trophy again three years later when they defeated Club Brugge, once again, across two legs.
Their most recent success in the competition came back in 2001. That year, the club had already wrapped up the FA Cup and League Cup and were on the hunt for an unheard-of cup treble. They met Spanish club Alaves at Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.
After one of the greatest Europa League finals ever played, the Reds would eventually prevail. Liverpool twice led by two clear goals, originally leading 2-0 and then leading 3-1, only for their Spanish opponents to bring it back to 3-3. Robbie Fowler then scored what looked like the winner in the 72nd minute, only for Jordi Cruyff – son of the legendary Johan Cruyff – to equalise two minutes from time.
The tie would head to extra time, and it was here where the Reds got the golden goal. Defender Delfí Geli would turn past his own goalkeeper to give Liverpool the 5-4 victory and their third trophy of the season.
The Anfield club also have tasted plenty of success in the Champions League. They have won that tournament on six occasions, with their most recent success coming in 2019.
Ken Anucha studied Information Technology at Sikkim Manipal University. He is a gaming and sports enthusiast whose aim is to keep folks in these spheres thoroughly informed and up-to-date.