Liverpool beat Villareal to make it to the finals of the UEFA Europa League on May 18th, when they will not only face another Spanish team, but also the defending champion and most successful team ever in this tournament. Teams from Spain are heavy soccer betting favorites, due to the successes of Real Madrid – in spite of practically playing without a goalkeeper – and that other team from the capital. However, if you want proof that the Europa League is the Marty Jannetty to the Champions League’s Shawn Michaels, all you have to do is take a look at the venue chosen for the final match – if you can find it, that is (it is that small).
The game will be held in St. Jacob Park in Basel, Switzerland. The choice of a Swiss stadium alone has its pros and cons. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. The capacity of Jake – as it is known to friends such as myself – was increased for the Euro 2008, and then decreased right after it to the current 38,512 for Swiss Super League matches and 37,500 seats for international matches. This will surely give the entire affair an air of coziness and intimacy – which is sadly more fitting for a Def Poetry Jam than a soccer match.
Of those thirty-something-thousand seats, Liverpool have been allocated 10,236 tickets to distribute among fans – and a presumably equal amount given to Sevilla. By way of comparison, Anfield Road, Liverpool’s home turf, has 27,000 registered season ticket holders, while Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium has capacity for 42,500. As expected, English fans – also known as hooligans – are not happy. One major Liverpool supporters' group stated that the amount of tickets available will clearly not be enough to satisfy the demand of tens of thousands of supporters who have attended every home game, a large number of which will miss out on the final.
So how does all of this concern people who bet on soccer? It’s possible one or both teams will miss the support of their fans, thereby reducing and /or increasing their soccer betting odds – Liverpool +290 (), Sevilla (+165), FYI. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he could find 30 million people who want to see the game – which is obviously hyperbole; I only clarify it because some people don’t seem to get how that literary figure works. He also complimented Basel as a town so wonderful it would be worth going just to hang around the stadium. However, Liverpool FC has urged fans who do not have a ticket to refrain from traveling to the Swiss city for the final.