Also my trip has been funded by Mr Paddy Power after a successful punt on Fulham and Athletico getting to the final as mentioned here and also a bet on Chelsea betting Wigan by more than five goals this weekend. It's hard to like Chelsea but the way they have pummelled teams this season is worthy of the title.
Here are some OFFICIAL UEFA statistics:
- Atlético have reached the final of a major UEFA club competition on four previous occasions, enjoying just one triumph. That came in the 1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup when they drew 1-1 with ACF Fiorentina in Glasgow before beating the Italian side 3-0 in a replay at the Neckarstadion in Stuttgart on 5 September 1962. Thus, Atlético won their only major European trophy on German soil.
- They also reached the 1962/63 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, but – in their only previous final meeting with an English side – lost 5-1 to Tottenham Hotspur FC at De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam.
- Overall, their record in six major UEFA showpiece matches reads W1 D2 L3 (not including the European/South American Cup), scoring six goals and conceding 14 in those games.
- Current Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has been involved in one major European final before, with his FC Internazionale Milano side losing the 1996/97 UEFA Cup showpiece 4-1 on penalties at San Siro after trading 1-0 home wins with FC Schalke 04.
- Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer played for Middlesbrough FC in the final of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup, which his side lost 4-0 to Atlético's Liga rivals Sevilla FC.
• Danny Murphy is the only Fulham player to have won a UEFA Cup final, having been on the victorious side with Liverpool FC in the 2000/01 edition. The Reds beat Spanish side Deportivo Alavés 5-4 thanks to an extra-time golden goal at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. Thus, his only previous UEFA club competition final against a Spanish side in Germany ended in victory.
- The final will be Atlético's 75th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League outing and Fulham's 25th. Atlético have disputed 211 UEFA club competition games to Fulham's 32.
- Fulham are now unbeaten in their last five European games since a 3-1 loss at Juventus in their round of 16 first leg. The London side will be competing on German soil for the third successive round after meeting VfL Wolfsburg and HSV in the quarter and semi-finals respectively; away from home, they beat the 2008/09 Bundesliga champions 1-0 before drawing 0-0 with Hamburg.
- The final will be Fulham's 19th game since they started their UEFA Europa League campaign in the third qualifying round. Their record in 18 European fixtures this season reads W11 D4 L3, scoring 30 goals and conceding 16. It will be Atlético's 17th European fixture since their campaign began in the UEFA Champions League play-off round. Their 16 games thus far have given them the tally W4 D8 L4, scoring 17 goals and conceding 22.
- • Atlético have lost all three of their UEFA club competition penalty shoot-outs to date; 7-6 at home to Derby County FC in the 1974/75 UEFA Cup, 3-1 at Fiorentina in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup and 3-1 at home against Villarreal in a 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup final.
- The referee is Italy's Nicola Rizzoli, who bossed Manchester United's game against Bayern Munich from which the German side advanced on away goals after United's right back was dismissed for two soft yellow cards. Well, a soft second yellow at any rate. He has refereed Atheltico before - an Intertoto cup defeat by Romanian side Gloria 1922 Bistriţa in 2007.