This was the second consecutive Europa League final contested by two teams from the same nation, and the ninth time overall (including UEFA Cup). The only other all-Spanish final of UEFA's second club competition was the 2007 UEFA Cup Final, when Sevilla defeated Espanyol. That was also the last final where both finalist teams had played only in the UEFA Cup/Europa League in their routes to the final (rather than dropping down from the UEFA Champions League, either after the early knockout rounds or after the group stage).
Both teams have played in one previous Europa League/UEFA Cup final. Atlético Madrid won the first Europa League final after its renaming in 2010, beating Fulham 2–1 after extra time. Athletic Bilbao lost in 1977 to Juventus on away goals after the tie finished 2–2 on aggregate. The two teams have never met in European competition before. They have met each other in three Copa del Rey finals, with Athletic Bilbao winning two and Atlético Madrid winning one. In the 2011–12 La Liga season, Athletic Bilbao won their home fixture 3–0 and Atlético Madrid won their home fixture 2–1.
After losing to Udinese on 20 October 2011, Atlético Madrid went on a run of 11 straight victories to the final, a record in European football, winning their remaining group games to top their group and then defeating four knockout opponents both home and away.
Athletic Bilbao fans in Bucharest before the match
The two finalist teams received 9,000 tickets each for distribution to their supporters. 20,000 tickets have been sold to local football fans with a further 3,000 tickets available for sale to fans worldwide via UEFA.com, with prices between 100 RON and 500 RON. The remaining tickets are allocated to the local organising committee, UEFA’s 53 national football associations, and commercial and broadcast partners.