The beauty of a derby is that it is a clash of two local sides that have developed a fierce rivalry over time. When they occur in the midst of a European cup competition it almost seems serendipitous, allowing clubs to play out their hatred in front of an international audience. And when it happens in a final, the bragging rights mean so much more.
No Such Luck This Year
Despite Manchester City and Chelsea both making it all the way to the Champions League final this year, it can’t really be considered a derby as the two sides don’t have a rich history. If Arsenal had made it to the Europa League final to face United, it would have been a tastier fixture as the two clubs have a long disliking of each other.
As it turns out, United made it to the last game of the tournament and face Villarreal in Gdansk. Many would argue that this is an easier final than it would have been against Mikel Arteta’s side, with the Europa League winner odds placing Solskjaer’s men as heavy favourites to get the better of Unai Emery’s charges. Indeed, the odds on the Europa League show the Yellow Submarine at 7/2 to lift the trophy, highlighting the superiority of the Red Devils.
One of the most frequently occurring derbies in European cup competitions is the Madrid derby, between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. The two sides from the Spanish capital have met in the top European cup on several occasions, with many of those fixtures being of great importance.
In 1958-59 and 2016-17, the Madrid teams faced each other in the semi-finals of the European Cup and Champions League. In 2013-14 and 2015-16, the Madrid derby occurred in the final. Real Madrid were the winners in every single one of these fixtures.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
The rivalry between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund may not be a local one, but there is still a large amount of animosity between the two sides and their meeting has been named Der Klassiker. This is because they have been the top teams in German football for some time, and are constantly tussling for supremacy. When they meet in the Bundesliga, it is always an electric affair. This was amplified tenfold when they came across each other in the top competition in Europe.
When Bayern and Dortmund met at Wembley in the 2013 Champions League final, this was the first time two German sides had ever come to blows in the ultimate game of the competition. Jupp Heynckes’s charges prevailed in the end against Jürgen Klopp’s men, in a wild encounter that ended 2-1.
These two derbies are probably the most memorable showdowns of recent times. But there have been a few other great rivalries in European tournaments over the years as well. Liverpool and Manchester United have come across one another on a number of occasions, as have AC Milan and Inter Milan. When domestic rivalries are played out in the top European tournaments, it always adds an extra element of excitement to proceedings.