The Andalusian side haven’t lost a single LaLiga Santander match at home this season, so will feel confident of cutting the gap to Los Blancos.
Written by Alejandro Fernandez.
There is a heavyweight bout in La Liga Santander this Sunday night (21:00 CEST), as Sevilla take on Real Madrid at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. The team from the capital currently hold a 12-point cushion over both Sevilla and Barcelona at the top of the La Liga Santander table, but the Andalusian side can cut that gap with a victory this weekend, putting the pressure on Los Blancos ahead of the final stretch of the season.
For Real Madrid, this is one of the toughest tests they have remaining, given that Sevilla are especially strong at home. They are the only team in La Liga Santander yet to lose a home league game this season, having won 11 and drawn four of their 15 home fixtures to date. Even across all competitions, they have just one defeat from 20 games at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán in 2021/22, with the only loss coming back in November against Lille in the Champions League.
With Real Madrid missing the suspended Casemiro for this trip, Sevilla will hope to win the possession battle and to dominate the midfield. The individual duels in attack and in defence will also be interesting, with these two squads containing some of the most in-form defenders and some of the most lethal finishers in the division. To see Lucas Ocampos attempt to cut past Éder Militão or David Alaba or to watch Jules Koundé try to mark his international teammate Karim Benzema will be fascinating.
If this match is anything like Sevilla FC and Real Madrid’s first meeting of the season then supporters are in for a treat, with Los Blancos edging that duel 2-1 as Vinícius scored a wonderful 87th minute winner, after first-half goals from Rafa Mir and Karim Benzema.
Lopetegui seeks his first victory over Real Madrid
For Julen Lopetegui, it’s always an extra special match when he faces Real Madrid since they are one of his former clubs, a team he played for between 1988 and 1991 and coached in 2018. Sevilla is the Basque tactician’s first job since he was let go by Real Madrid midway through the 2018/19 season and his success in Andalusia means he is once again considered as one of the best coaches of Spanish football, having won the 2019/20 Europa League and having turned Sevilla FC into a title challenger.
However, Lopetegui has yet to earn a victory over Real Madrid as a coach. He has faced Los Blancos five times in total, suffering four defeats and drawing once. But, his team’s two best performances against Real Madrid in that time were their most recent two, with the 2-2 draw coming at the end of last season in Valdebebas in a back-and-forth game and with the Rojiblancos even taking the lead at the Bernabéu earlier this campaign, before Benzema and Vinícius turned that encounter around.
Given that he was the coach of Real Madrid so recently, Lopetegui knows the players in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad well and he’ll know which areas to try to exploit. He’ll also know that Sevilla FC need a victory in this game, rather than a draw, if they are to truly push Real Madrid all the way in this season’s title race. With the stakes so high, this promises to be one of the best matches of the final seven rounds of the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander season.