Athletic Bilbao vs. Atletico Madrid: The Key Matchups in the Europa League Final

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Athletic Bilbao vs. Atletico Madrid: The Key Matchups in the Europa League Final
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

This year's Europa League Final—formerly the UEFA Cup—will be the sixth in 12 years contested by at least one Spanish club. 

Of the previous six, Spanish sides have won all but one time. That one time was Liverpool's triumph over Alaves in 2000-01. 

This year's finalist Atletico Madrid won the competition just two seasons ago on the strength of strikers Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero. This year, the club is led by last season's Europa League Final match winner, Radamel Falcao.

Atletico will face Athletic Bilbao who is playing in their first European final since 1976-77. Bilbao is a club of tradition, only selecting players from the Basque region, and the club has waited along time to return to this level. 

Both clubs have worked hard to get to this point, but there's still another 90-minutes before a Europa League champion is crowned in Bucharest, Romania. Now with 204 Europa League matches played in 2011-12, let's look at the key match ups for the final.

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