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FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's route to Europa League final

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On Thursday May 14 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk beat SSC Napoli to make it through to the Europa League final.

This is the first time Dnipro has made it to a major European final. The furthest stage of a European competition the club had reached was the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1985 when they were eliminated by Bordeaux and in 1990 when they were eliminated by Benfica. 

Dnipro have had a lot of success in the Europa League this season but not a lot of people know much about them. They currently play in the Ukrainian Premier League where they lie in third place and the last time they won the league title was in 1988.

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The club is based in Dnipropetrovsk, the fourth largest city in Ukraine and their home stadium is called the Dnipro Arena but the club currently plays all of their European home games at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Their current manager is Myron Markevych, who has never won a European title as a manager.

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Before Markevych became manager, Dnipro were managed by former Real Madrid and Tottenham boss Juande Ramos.

The star player

They have arguably one of the most sought after players in Europe at the moment in Yevhen Konoplyanka, who has been scouted by a number of teams over the last two seasons, nearly moving to Liverpool and Tottenham last season.

The race for Konoplyanka has heated up as the player's contract expires at the end of the season and numerous clubs are lining up a move for him. 

Route to the final

Dnipro's Europa League journey started in the play-off round where they faced the Croatian side Hajduk Split, they qualified for the group stages after winning the tie 2-1 on aggregate.

The team were then placed into group F alongside Italian giants Inter Milan, Qarabağ FK from Azerbaijan and French side St-Etienne.

They made it through to the round of 32 after finishing second in their group to Inter Milan. In the round of 32 they faced Greek side Olympiacos where they won the tie 4-2 on aggregate and progressed into the round of 16 where they came up against the Dutch champions Ajax.

During the tie against Ajax they lost 2-1 in Amsterdam but thanks to a 1-0 win at home, Dnipro made it through to the quarter-finals on away goals. In the quarter-finals they were matched up against Belgium side Club Brugge who they defeated 1-0 on aggregate to progress to the semi-finals where they would come up against Rafa Benitez Napoli.

In the first leg Dnipro scored a crucial away goal and held off a relentless attack to draw 1-1. They won the second leg 1-0, eventually winning the tie 2-1 on aggregate. The final of the Europa League will take place on May 27 and Dnipro will come up against last seasons Europa League champions Sevilla who are looking to win the title for a fourth time. 

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Topics:
Football
Europa League

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