The top 5 UEFA Europa League experiences

There are a lot of things which make the UEFA Europa League special, but one of the best things about the competition is the sheer variety of cultures and atmospheres on offer each and every season.

The weird and wonderful vibes on show is the subject of this week’s UEFA Europa League Breakfast Show, presented by official tournament partner, Kia. This week’s show features broadcaster Ben Haines, who took a stroll down memory lane to offer up some of the best experiences around in the Europa League.

Here are the five things that top the Europa League billing.

SL Benfica v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League
Benfica’s eagle makes for special viewing | Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

Most teams across Europe do what they can to build tension before their Europa League games, but sometimes, they’ll go the extra mile to create something truly special. In Ben’s experiences, Celtic and Benfica stand out from the crowd.

Whether it’s a full-blown Scottish light show before a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone or a Portuguese concert with an eagle flying past your eyes, it’s safe to say that you never know what you’re going to find in the Europa League.

Red Star’s tunnel is built like a bunker | ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Getty Images

Walking through a tunnel is a daily part of life in football, but Red Star like to do things a little differently.

The minute-long walk through the Rajko Mitic Stadium tunnel prepares teams for war by forcing them to walk through a bombshelter-like tunnel full of armed riot police, graffiti and echoed chants of the Red Star fans.

It could hardly be more different from a ground like the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which features a VIP club built in to the glass walls. Two different worlds.

Sevilla FC v Real Betis - La Liga Santander
Sevilla fans gather in the streets | Fran Santiago/Getty Images

There’s something about a Europa League crowd that just hits different.

Some of Ben’s best memories of fans have come in this competition, where fans chanting for teams like Frankfurt, Olympiacos, Marseille, Tottenham and Sevilla have taken support to a whole new level.

Even outside the stadiums, you’ll find fans flocking in their thousands to support their teams. They take over cities and treat public training sessions like finals. It’s something special.

Ostersunds do things a little differently | PER DANIELSSON/TT/Getty Images

Sometimes, those crowds go one step further. The standard party atmosphere can be replaced by a once-in-a-lifetime hybrid of intensity, passion and love for the game.

For Ben, those unique atmospheres have come from obscure corners of Europe. Teams like Ostersunds, Molde and Astana have all left lasting impressions with the sheer ferocity of their fanbase.

For some of these teams, the Europa League may be the pinnacle of their season, and it’s clear that their supporters want to make their journey a memorable one.

Chelsea celebrate their 2019 Europa League triumph | OZAN KOSE/Getty Images

The 2019 final might not have been contested by diverse sides – Chelsea and Arsenal became the first teams from the same city to meet in the final – but the hosts in Baku, Azerbaijan made sure it was something special.

With such a wide mix of cultures, stories and memories from fans across Europe who had made the trip to one of Europe’s biggest occasions, the 2019 final offered up the kind of atmosphere no London derby has ever experienced.

With a nod to the welcoming people of both UEFA and Baku itself, the 2019 final was something else.

For the past three seasons Kia has been rewarding their customers and fans of the UEFA Europa League with exclusive content from around the competition, as well as providing vehicles at the Finals and touring the iconic trophy around Europe alongside former winners of the coveted trophy, as part of the UEL Trophy Tour.

This additional media partnership for The Breakfast Show means that Kia will continue to grant exclusive access to their content and online player celebrations; and viewers of the show will also get direct access to other exclusive content on Kia’s own pages.