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This Saturday at 4.15pm CET, Barça will be looking to continue their unbeaten form under new manager Xavi Hernández with the visit of Real Betis to the Camp Nou. We take a closer look at the green and white half of Seville.
WHERE ARE THEY FROM?
Betis (together with Sevilla) are one of two Liga teams from the fourth biggest city in Spain, Seville, where they share one the most heated rivalries in world football. The magnificent city is the capital of the most southernmost province on the European mainland, Andalusia. It is home to the world famous Alcázar palace, and very much typifies the ‘real’ Spain of flamenco, bullfighting and very hot temperatures.
Founded in 1907, ‘Betis’ was the name of the former Roman province, while ‘Balompié’ is a literal translation of the English term ‘football’. In opposition to Sevilla FC, a highly exclusive middle class institution, Betis was open to members of all statuses and origin. As poor Andalusians migrated around Spain looking for work in the 20th century, they took their love for Betis with them, and the club’s green and white emblems are still commonplace in working class neighbourhoods all around the country today.
Those colours are historically connected to Celtic, after striped fabric was brought back by a player who had been studying in Scotland – but Betis decided upon stripes rather than hoops.
Betis have spent most of their time in the first division, and when they have been relegated (most recently in 2014) they have usually been quick to bounce back up. They did win La Liga once, way back in 1935 under Irishman Patrick O’Connell, who also coached Barça. Although they will typically finish in the top half of the table, they’ve only made it into the Champions League once. They’ve also won the cup twice, in 1977 and 2005.
HEAD TO HEAD
Barça have only lost to Betis once in their last 18 meetings, a shock 4-3 win for the Andalusians at Camp Nou in 2018, with Quique Setién managing the visitors against a team he would later coach himself.
Betis have only avoided defeat three times in their last 19 trips to Campo Nou. Aside from the aforesaid win, the best they have also managed has been a couple of draws
Goal-wide in those 19 games, Barça have scored 68 and conceded just 21.
Last five meetings (all in La Liga)
07/02/21 Betis 2 Barça 3 (Messi, OG, Trincao)
07/11/20 Barça 5 (Dembélé, Griezmann, Messi 2, Pedri) Betis 2
09/02/20 Betis 2 Barça 3 (De Jong, Busquets, Lenglet)
25/08/19 Barça 5 (Griezmann 2, Perez, Alba, Vidal) Betis 2
17/03/19 Betis 1 Barça 4 (Messi 3, Suárez)
After finishing sixth last season and qualifying for the Europa League, Betis have also started strong in 2021/22. They’re an impressive fifth in the table, four points ahead of FC Barcelona.
It only seems to have been against the traditionally bigger teams that they have been struggling. Their four defeats have been against Villarreal, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla.
They are the third highest scoring team in the competition with 25 goals
In the Europa League they have already secured qualification for the next round, in second place behind Bayer Leverkusen and ahead of Celtic and Ferencváros.
MOST CAPPED INTERNATIONALS
Andrés Guardado (Mexico, 171), Claudio Bravo (Chile, 139), William Carvalho (Portugal, 69), Joaquín (Spain, 51), Germán Pezzella (Argentina, 26), Nabil Fekir (France, 25), Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal, 21), Guido Rodríguez (Argentina, 20), Diego Lainez (Mexico, 14), Marc Bartra (Spain, 14), Sergio Canales (Spain, 10), Héctor Bellerín (Spain, 4)
Right back Martín Montoya is a La Masia graduate who played 45 games for Barça and whose most recent club was Brighton & Hove Albion before joining Betis at the start of this season, where he also played on loan from Barça in 2016.
Centre back Marc Bartra was another product of la Masia who spent six years in the first team without ever quite becoming a regular. He left for Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and joined Betis in 2018.
Centre back Víctor Ruiz was another Barça youth player, although he spent most of his development years at neighbouring RCD Espanyol. His other clubs have included Valencia, Villarreal and, last season, Beşiktaş.
Striker Cristian Tello was at Barça from 2010 to 2014, usually only playing when one of the famous 'trident' was unavailable. Following loan spells at Porto and Fiorentina, he joined Betis in 2017.
Left back Álex Moreno was at La Masia in the youth, but it was at Mallorca and then Rayo Vallecano where he made his professional breakthrough. He’s been at Betis since 2019.
Héctor Bellerín spent his youth at Barça, but left for Arsenal in 2011, for whom he’s played 183 games but is spending this season at Betis on a one-year loan deal.
Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo won two leagues and a Champions League at Barça before leaving for Manchester City in 2016. He joined Betis in 2020.
Left-back Juan Miranda (pictured below) started his youth career at Betis before moving to La Masia, eventually playing 30 games for Barça B, and even getting to play for the first team in the Champions League. He came to Betis on loan from Schalke 04 but has now been signed up permanently by the Andalusians.
TOP SCORERS 2022/22
Juanmi is the third highest scorer in La Liga, with eight, tied with Barça’s Memphis Depay. Willian José (5) and Borja Iglesias (3) are next on the lost.
Nabil Fekir has scored two goals and given three assists and is another man who’ll need a very careful eye to be kept on.
Chilean Manuel Pelligrini was a one-club man as a footballer (Universidad de Chile), but is a much-travelled man as manager. He became known to European audience thanks to five wonderful seasons at Villarreal, and his posts after that have included Real Madrid and Manchester City, where he became the first non-European coach to win the Premier League. After being dismissed by West Ham two seasons ago, he replaced caretaker manager Alexis Trujillo at Betis
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