The Europa League and Sevilla has been a match made in heaven over the last decade-and-a-half, with the Andalusian side winning the competition five times since 2006. This season has seen them once again made a run deep into the latter stages of the Europa League where they will face Manchester United for a place in the final.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are, for many, favourites to go all the way in Germany. United finished the Premier League season strongly, recovering after a dismal first half of the campaign to ultimately finish in third place, qualifying for next season’s Champions League. They don’t need the Europa League to get back to European football’s top table.
Sevilla also don’t need to win the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League, with Julen Lopetegui’s side finishing fourth in La Liga. This is a tie that will solely be about the glory of winning a European trophy and Sevilla, at this level, know how to do that better than most.
Things weren’t so rosy at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last summer, with Monchi returning to Sevilla after two seasons at Roma. The famed sporting director started immediately on pointing the club in the right direction again, hiring Lopetegui despite his abject failure at Real Madrid the season before.
At Sevilla, Lopetegui has gone some way to restoring his damaged reputation. He has forged a free-flowing team that plays an attractive brand of football. Sevilla are energetic, full of drive and won’t be lacking for intensity as they take on Manchester United for a place in this season’s Europa League final. Solskjaer’s side will need to be in peak physical condition.
“[Sevilla] are a very well organised team, [with an] aggressive style of play [and] pressing,” Solskjaer said when asked what it will take to beat Sevilla. “They have got some very good individuals so we have to play our best game.”
Players like Sergio Reguilon, Diego Carlos, Ever Banega and Lucas Ocampos have all enjoyed excellent seasons, with the latter doing the damage to Wolves in the quarter finals. Sevilla could do with a proven goalscorer, but they have the quality to get past Manchester United. This has the potential to be the match of this season’s Europa League, the match to define the whole tournament.
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