With World Cup fever already rampant following a frenzied finish to the 2013/14 Premier League season and plenty to come from Spain’s top-three teams over the next ten days, the Europa League final between Sevilla and Benfica has – inevitably – slipped under the football radar somewhat.
However, bwinners needn’t fear as we’ve taken a keen interest in the recent history of this competition’s climax, coming up with a few top truisms ahead of the Juventus Stadium showdown.
The Spanish team will win
Seven La Liga outfits have contested the final of Europe’s consolation competition over the last decade and the two that failed to lift the trophy had to watch another Spanish team do so.
That doozey isn’t the only trend going Sevilla’s way as, since Galatasary and Arsenal became the first Champions League dropouts to contest this showpiece at the turn of the century, only two such teams have managed final wins over sides who started their campaigns in the competition.
Four original Europa League/UEFA Cup qualifiers have triumphed in the reverse instance and the last three of those managed to do so in normal time without conceding.
Unai Emery’s Red and Whites have been price-boosted by bwin.com and are now 23/10 to win within 90 minutes
They can also be backed at 5/4 to lift the trophy and 15/4 to beat Benfica to nil.
A striker will score first
This might not seem like much of a stat, but the fact that seven of the last eight finals have seen a centre-forward break the deadlock – including each of the last six – rules out the likes of Benfica’s danger-man defender Luisao, who scored three times in a two-game March burst and Sevilla’s in-demand midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
Of the frontmen on show in the Old Lady’s backyard, Rodrigo sets the standard for the Portuguese at 5/1 with 19 goals in all competitions, but Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca has just one fewer for the season and rates a touch more value at 11/2.
Furthermore, thanks to bwin’s double/treble money offer, if your Bacca first-scorer bet lands and he bags one or two more during the 90, the wager will be furnished with two or three times the odds!
There’ll be at least one goal scored between the 30th minute and half time
Apart from last season, when Fernando Torres opened the scoring for eventual winners Chelsea on the hour mark against Benfica, the past four renewals of the Europa League/UEFA Cup have seen at least one strike bagged during the 15 minutes before the break, with the 2009/10 clash between Atletico Madrid and Fulham featuring a couple.
Such an eventuality can be backed to happen for the fifth time in six years in Turin at 31/20.