The 'lonely' Europa League awaits Sevilla in Cologne

A giant replica of the trophy awaits on the famous Bridge of Padlocks, before the atonic gaze of passers-by who do not even know that the final phase is being played there.


The lack of foreign fans because of the Covid, of tourists from abroad almost also, causes Germany to live outside the Europa League despite hosting its final phase these days. A giant replica of the trophy presides over the entrance of the famous Hohenzollern, the Bridge of the Padlocks in Cologne, the city that will host the final and that the day after tomorrow welcomes Seville and Manchester United in one of the semifinals. Some passersby wonder what it is doing there; others pass by and look at her, uninterested. All, most, have not even found out yet that there have been 10 teams, now four, playing the second continental competition in this state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

"Will Sevilla play there tomorrow?", Nolen, a restaurant worker just behind the MSV-Arena in Duisburg, was surprised the day before the Nervionenses faced Wolverhampton in the quarterfinals a few meters from your local. "I like Spanish football, I'm from Real Madrid," adds the waiter. "But I didn't know this final phase was being played here. I haven't seen it advertised anywhere" .

And that Leverkusen, a city located in the same state of North Rhineland and with three of the stadiums-headquarters a few tens of kilometers away, had Bayer in the quarterfinals. The German club fell to Inter without transcending much beyond their fans and the tournament was left without local teams. So the newspapers, even those in the cities that host the matches, barely dedicate more than a brief to the Europa League despite being in it such important teams as Manchester United or Inter itself, or five-time champion Sevilla.

"Does Inter have the semi-final in Genselkirchen?" Roberto, the Italian bartender at a pub in the center of Cologne, questions journalists. "I am interista, I would have bought tickets!", He adds before knowing that the matches are without an audience because of the pandemic. "Ah ...", he resigns himself and goes to attend another table. The final is in Cologne, by the way. And maybe, Roberto, Inter also plays it.

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