English Premier League clubs Arsenal and Chelsea have qualified for the Europa League final, completing an historic week wms.
The London clubs will face one another in Baku on 29 May while Liverpool will take on Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on 1 June.
Arsenal beat Valencia 2-4 to win their semi-final tie 3-7 while Chelsea sealed their place in the final by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 after extra time, with the aggregate score 2-2.
It will be the first time in the history of European football that one country has monopolised the two finals and means that both trophies will head to England.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored a hat-trick for Arsenal, was asked what reaching the final meant to Arsenal. He said: “It means a lot. I think we have learned from last season [when they were eliminated in the semi-finals]. This year we didn’t make the same mistakes, so now we are through to the final and we are all happy.”
His forward partner, Alexandre Lacazette, said: “We reacted well [after going a goal down]. We knew we had to score a minimum of one goal today. Thanks to Auba for the hat-trick, you were unbelievable tonight. We want to go to the Champions League. We want the trophy.”
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, said he was unsure if he had made his final appearance for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“I don’t think that. I’m only thinking to win something for this club, for this squad,” he said. “In my mind, I don’t know yet. I’m just thinking to win games and that’s it.”
Chelsea’s manager Maurizio Sarri said: “There is no preparation for penalties because you can kick very well in the training ground but then the pressure is different. You need a great personality, a great character. I think it’s really useless to try [to prepare for penalties. Now we need to rest. We have to recover energy because we are really very tired.”
There have been Champions League finals contested by clubs from the same nation before. Real Madrid beat Atlético Madrid in 2014 and 2016. Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund lost to Bayern Munich at Wembley in 2013 while Manchester United and Chelsea played in the last all-English final in 2008, with United winning on penalties. Milan beat Juventus on penalties in 2003 while Real beat Valencia in 2000.
There have been a dozen one-country match-ups in the junior competitions. There had been three all-Spanish finals in the Fair Cup before it gave way to the Uefa Cup, whose very first final, in 1972, was an all-English affair. Spurs played Wolves over two legs, winning 3-2 on aggregate. There have been a further eight other finals since between sides from the same country, most recently when Atlético beat Athletic Bilbao in 2012.
However there has never been four clubs from the same country featuring in both of European football’s finals and many will argue that the billions flowing into the Premier League is now having a direct effect on those competitions.
Arsenal and Chelsea’s victories came after Liverpool and Spurs marched into the Champions League final following dramatic semi-final wins.
Klopp’s side overcame a 3-0 first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield and win the tie 4-3, while Tottenham were 3-0 down on aggregate against Ajax before Lucas Moura’s hat-trick completed an unlikely, last-minute comeback in Amsterdam, as they drew the tie 3-3 and went through on away goals.