Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Dnipro's supporters celebrate with a flag at the castle square in Warsaw ahead of the UEFA Europa League final football match between FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Sevilla FC on 27 May 2015Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images

When Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk take to the pitch in the Europa Cup final Wednesday night (27 May), the Ukrainian team have more than football to play for in Warsaw.

The country's third largest club have had an incredible run, dumping Napoli out in the semi-finals and reaching the first European final in its history. Long in the shadow of Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, Dnipro has the hopes of Ukraine on its shoulders as it goes into battle against the Spanish favourites, Sevilla..

It will not be the first time that a Ukrainian team has had a run at European silverware. Shakhtar won the Europa League in 2009 while Kiev, who had former Chelsea star Andriy Shevchenko on the books, reached the semis before being beaten by a single goal by Bayern Munich.

"It is an incredible achievement because when you think that there is a war raging in the east, very close to that city, they can't play any home games [...]. For them to do that in the midst of war, where everybody is being touched by it, is one of the great fairy tale stories of modern football, I think," said James Montague, author of Thirty-One Nil, and When Friday Comes (a 2013 book about football in conflict zones).

The economic situation in Ukraine has meant that many fans have not been able to pay to make the journey to Warsaw. In the crowd during the Napoli game, supporters were seen passing around boxes for donations to the club while players have also got involved.

"We've helped those people for whom it's hard financially. We've given them gifts to make sure they can get here, but you can't help everybody," said captain Ruslan Rotan on Tuesday.

The war has not just had a security impact on Ukrainian teams. Ukrainian journalist Oleksandr Tkach told CNN that the flailing Ukrainian economy had meant that owners of up to six local clubs that paid their top stars lucrative salaries are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Russia's annexation of Crimea has pulled two top clubs – SC Tavriya Simferopol and FC Sebastopol – out of the Ukrainian league while Donetsk-based Shakhtar have had to play their entire season in Lviv, in the far west of the country 1,200km from their home ground.

"Donetsk are taking a massive financial hit, and this is one of the richest clubs, not just in the country but in Eastern Europe. The people who live there have bigger things to worry about, literal survival on a day to day basis. The club are losing money hand over foot," said Montague.

In the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, midfielder Valeriy Fedorchuk told journalists that Dnipro knew this was not only a game for Dnipro fans – but for the whole country.

"What is happening in the Donbass is not good for my country. We have always believed we are big friends with Russia. We will be playing for Ukraine because we represent our country," said Fedorchuk.

Ukraine bomb
People assist an injured woman at the scene of an explosion in DnipropetrovskReuters