Sevilla wants to confirm its recovery in Europe

Those from Mendilibar receive the French Lens at the start of the ‘Champions’


Sevilla FC, relieved after adding their first points in LaLiga, begins this Wednesday at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán (9:00 p.m./Movistar Champions League 2) their adventure in the group stage of the Champions League with the aim of confirming their recovery against a Racing Club Lens that is going through severe difficulties in the French league and against which it will experience an unprecedented duel.

In its fourth consecutive presence in the top continental competition – and eleventh consecutive season playing in Europe – the team from Nervion will try to surpass the bar of the group stage of the last two campaigns. In the 2022-23 season, the team finished with a single victory in a group shared with the eventual champion, Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Copenhagen.

After finishing third, he took the consolation of the Europa League, which once again and for the seventh time, he managed to win. His victory at the Puskas Arena in Budapest against José Mourinho’s Roma gave him his place in the ‘Champions’ despite having finished far in LaLiga – twelfth, four points behind the European zone. Now, they hope not to disappoint in a tough Group B with the French, Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven.

The start of the season has not been exactly idyllic for the Sevillistas, who suffered three defeats in their first three league games, in addition to painfully falling on penalties against Pep Guardiola’s City in the final of the European Super Cup.

However, last weekend, after a three-week competitive break due to the suspension of their duel against Atlético and the arrival of the national team ‘window’, they broke the bad streak against UD Las Palmas with a solitary goal from Belgian Dodi Lukebakio (1-0) in the re-debut of Sergio Ramos. A result that they hope will be a turning point.

“It is always important to start by winning any competition, especially one as short as this one. We are playing at home, we have to have that small advantage. We are fine,” said José Luis Mendilibar in the press conference prior to the match, in which he downplayed the fact that I had only two days to prepare it. “The bad thing about this competition is that there is no day to know if the players have recovered or not, but we have not competed for three weeks,” he insisted.

In his endeavor to start his adventure with three points, the Basque coach will not be able to count on the Argentine Marcos Acuña or the Frenchman Taguy Nianzou, both in the final stretch of their recovery from their respective injuries and who join the absences of the Brazilian Marcao and the Belgian Adnan Januzaj, not registered for the ‘Champions’.

Given the marathon of games that are coming up for the team, six in the next 18 days, there could be changes in the eleven, led by the Camas defender, four-time Champions champion. The main one, perhaps, is the inclusion of the Moroccan Youssef En-Nesyri in the attack, while Mariano Díaz continues to wait for his opportunity.

Opposite, Lens returns to the Champions League 21 years later in a state of absolute need. In the five games played in Ligue 1, in which they were runners-up last year, the French team has only added one point, numbers that leave them at the bottom of the category. In addition, it is the team with the most goals (11) and the second fewest goalscorers (4).

The departure of two key players such as the Belgian attacker Loïs Openda and the Franco-Ivorian midfielder Seko Fofana have weighed too much on Franck Haise’s team, which is confident of being able to get back on track against a Sevilla that has only achieved four victories in its last 13 ‘Champions’ matches at home -three draws and six defeats-.



SEVILLE: Dmitrovic; Navas, Bade, Ramos, Peter; Rakitic, Sow; Suso, Oliver Towers, Ocampos; and En-Nesyri.

LENS: Samba; Gradit, Dance, Medina; Frankowski, Abdul Samed, Diouf, Drunk; Sotoca, Fulgini; and Wahi.

–REFEREE: Tobias Stieler (ALE).

–STADIUM: Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.

–TIME: 9:00 p.m./Movistar Champions League 2.