Sevilla are on a run, and they welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Sanchez-Pizjuan this evening in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 full of confidence. They sit fourth in La Liga, a point and a place behind Barcelona, four behind Real Madrid and nine behind leaders Atletico Madrid.
Julen Lopetegui has opted for close to a full-strength starting XI, missing just Marcos Acuna and Lucas Ocampos through injury. Bono starts in goal, protected by a back four of Jesus Navas, Jules Kounde, Diego Carlos and Sergio Escudero. Fernando sits, with Joan Jordan and Ivan Rakitic just in front of him. Suso and Papu Gomez start in the wide areas, with Youssef En-Nesyri up top.
Sevilla are on a run of nine straight victories and seven consecutive clean sheets. They finished second in Champions League Group E, a point behind Chelsea and ahead of Krasnodar and Rennes. They’ll be hoping to lay down a marker with a victory at home in Seville to go into the second leg full of beans.
Many supporters of Spanish football will hope that Sevilla can restore a little Iberian self-respect following on from Barcelona’s humbling last night at the hands of a rampant Paris Saint-Germain. One man who doesn’t have their support, however, is Real Betis centre back Marc Bartra, who holds the double-edged sword of representing their opponents in the past and their greatest rivals in the present.
“It will be a very intense game, a game of which there will be a real rivalry because Borussia Dortmund also have very good players and they can go far in the Champions League,” Bartra said in comments in Marca. A great game is going to be seen.
“I am going to watch it for sure because I watch practically all Borussia Dortmund games, I always watch them. If I do not see them it is because we are playing a game or because we are training, but I always watch them, especially a game like this. I am going to be supporting Borussia Dortmund because they are like a second family to be and I am just another fan.”