The 2005–06 UEFA Cup season was won by Sevilla FC, beating Middlesbrough F.C. in the final. It was the first victory for Sevilla in a European competition, and the first appearance by Middlesbrough in a European final. The final took place at Philips Stadion, in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The match was refereed by Herbert Fandel. Middlesbrough sealed their place in the final on the back of two dramatic comebacks. In the quarter finals they beat FC Basel of Switzerland 4–3 on aggregate (after losing the first leg 2–0 and being 1–0 down in the second leg, they scored 4 goals), this put them into the semi–final to face Steaua București. The first leg finished 1–0 to Steaua, and the second leg (at the Riverside Stadium again) finished 4–2 (after being 2–0 down). Sevilla went on to defend the trophy the following year.
CSKA Moscow were the defending champions, but were eliminated in the group stage.
113 teams qualified directly for the 2005–06 UEFA Cup from 52 UEFA associations. An additional three teams qualified via the UEFA Fair Play league, while 27 further teams qualified at various stages from the UEFA Intertoto Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
Below is the final qualification scheme for the 2005–06 UEFA Cup:
Associations 1–6 each have 3 teams qualify, with the exception of England (2) who have 2 teams
Associations 7–8 each have 4 teams qualify
Associations 9–15 each have 2 teams qualify
Associations 16–20 each have 3 teams qualify
Associations 21–49 each have 2 teams qualify, with the exception of Liechtenstein (43) who have 1 team
Each association enters a certain number of teams to the UEFA Cup based on its league coefficient. Through domestic competitions (national championships and cups and league cups in certain countries) an association may qualify up to four teams. The following amendments were made to the 2005–06 qualification scheme:
The defending UEFA Cup holder CSKA Moscow already qualified for the 2nd qualifying round, which means that the first UEFA Cup entrant of the 25th and 26th associations on the ranking list (Hungary and Romania) will gain direct access to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.
Because Liverpool entered the first qualifying round of the Champions League as title holders, the first UEFA Cup entrant of 11th and 12th associations on the ranking list (Scotland and Belgium) will gain direct access to the first round of the UEFA Cup.
In Kazakhstan, only Kairat Almaty obtained a UEFA licence for the 2005–06 season. The other teams from Kazakhstan were not allowed to compete. Therefore, the first UEFA Cup entrant of the 27th and 28th countries on the ranking list (Slovakia and Slovenia) will gain direct access to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.
^Kazakhstan (KAZ): 2004 Kazakhstan Cup winners Taraz and league runners-up Irtysh Pavlodar failed to obtain UEFA licences. Since no other team was able to obtain a licence as well, Kazakhstan was not represented in UEFA Cup.