Jonathan Wilson is in Seville, soaking up the atmosphere as thousands of fans fly in from Frankfurt and Glasgow. It’s extremely warm in southern Spain today – 35 degrees – so let’s hope everyone packed the sunscreen.
In the modern European football landscape of superclubs, tiered formats and clandestine coefficient chat, tonight offers an oasis. This final feels like a throwback to the continental classics of yore – two giant clubs with fervent fan bases making an unexpected return to the top table.
In the blue corner: Rangers, who lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 before a long list of near misses, culminating in defeat to Zenit in the ill-fated 2008 Uefa Cup final. In the disastrous years that followed, Berwick Rangers was as close to a European away-day as they got. Few fans thought days like this would come again so soon.
In the red (black and white) corner: Eintracht Frankfurt, a side on the sharp end of one of the European Cup’s most famous scorelines. They also have one big continental pot in the cabinet – the 1980 Uefa Cup – but the years of turbulence since their heyday have earned them their “moody Diva” nickname.
Decades after their paths first crossed as pioneers in European football, the two sides meet again in Seville. The prize on offer for both is a second major European trophy – an opportunity that might not come again for another generation. Plus a place in the Champions League group stage next season; modern football still has its perks.
Kick-off at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán is 9pm local, 8pm BST.