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Barça and Sevilla meet on Saturday at 4.15pm CET in a hugely important LaLiga fixture. Here's the lowdown on a team that includes a number of familiar faces for Culers.
WHERE ARE THEY FROM?
Barça are returning to Seville just 17 days after playing the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final. 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.
Sevilla v FC Barcelona is a meeting of the two oldest clubs in La Liga. Founded in 1899, Barça was for many years deemed to be the older of the two, but UEFA and FIFA have recently endorsed the claim that the Sevilla Football Club officially registered in 1905 was, for all effects and purposes, a continuation of the club of the same name set up by British expatriates in 1890.
The club's rivalry with Real Betis, which is traditionally viewed to be more representative of the ‘working classes’, is regarded as one of the most heated in European football.
Sevilla have only won La Liga once, and that was way back in 1946, and the last decade or so, with a record six UEFA Cups/UEFA Europa Leagues (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016 and again last season in 2020) has been their most successful period ever.
Completed in 1955 and named after an early club president, the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán was the venue for one of the darkest days in Barça history. Barça were overwhelming favourites to beat Steaua Bucharest in the European Cup Final played here in 1986, but ended up losing on penalties following a dire 0-0 draw.
In 1982 it was the venue for one of the greatest World Cup games of all time, the semi-final between West Germany and France, which the Germans won on penalties following a 3-3 draw, also remembered for the infamous collision between Patrick Battiston and Harald Schumacher.
Often dubbed ‘La Bombonera de Nervión’, comparing it to the Boca Juniors stadium, it is a favourite venue for the Spanish national team, where ‘La Roja’ have never lost.
HEAD TO HEAD
Barça’s 2-0 defeat at the Sánchez Pizjuán in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg was only their third defeat to Sevilla in the last 31 meetings across all competitions, stretching back to 2010.
Considering the Sevilla of recent years is one of the strongest ever, Barça have had some extraordinarily good results against them:
Last ten meetings:
10/02/21 (C DEL REY) Sevilla 2 Barça 0
04/10/20 (LIGA) Barça 1 (Coutinho) Sevilla 1
19/06/20 (LIGA) Sevilla 0 Barça 0
06/10/19 (LIGA) Barça 4 (Suárez, Vidal, Dembélé, Messi) Sevilla 0
23/02/19 (LIGA) Sevilla 2 Barça 4 (Messi 3, Suárez)
30/01/19 (C DEL REY) Barça 6 Coutinho 2, Rakitic, S Roberto, Suárez, Messi) Sevilla 1
23/01/19 (C DEL REY) Sevilla 2 Barça 0
20/10/18 (LIGA) Barça 4 (Coutinho, Messi, Suárez, Rakitic) Sevilla 2
12/08/18 (SUPER CUP) Sevilla 1 Barça 2 (Piqué, Dembélé)
21/04/18 (C DEL REY FINAL) Sevilla 0 Barça 5 (Suárez 2, Messi, Iniesta, Coutinho) (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
Sevilla have made up for a poor spell early in the season, and only Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid have been able to beat them in their last 15 league outings, meaning they have climbed up to fourth, just two points behind Barça and four from Real Madrid, with a game in hand on both.
They progressed through five rounds of the Copa del Rey without conceding a single goal (against fellow Andalusian sides Ciudad de Lucena and Linares, then Leganés, Valencia and Almeria), before meeting Barça in the first leg of the semi-final which they won 2-0. The second leg takes place in the very next match after Saturday's league encounter.
They’re also through to the last sixteen of the Champions League after finishing second behind Chelsea in their group, but ahead of Krasnodar (Russia) and Rennes (France). A round of 16 first leg defeat (2-3) against Borussia Dortmund, means there's everything to play for in the return.
Most capped internationals
Ivan Rakitić (Croatia, 106), Jesús Navas (Spain, 46), Tomáš Vaclík (Czech Rep, 34), Youssef_En-Nesyri (Morocco, 34), Luuk de Jong (Holland, 32), Marcos Acuña (Argentina, 28), Yassine Bounou (Morocco, 25), Nemanja Gudelj (Serbia, 33)
Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitić (pictured above) requires no introduction after making 200 appearances and winning a wealth of trophies at Barça. After six seasons at Camp Nou, he returned to his former club last summer.
Catalan centre back Sergi Gómez played 96 games for Barça B and actually made his senior debut playing for Barça against Sevilla in the 2010 Super Cup.
Defender/winger Aleix Vidal was at Barça from 2015 to 2018 before being sold to Sevilla, where he’s now back after a year on loan to Alavés.
Spanish/Moroccan striker Munir El Haddadi (pictured below) was a Barça B graduate who played 22 games for the senior team before he swapped blaugrana for all-white in 2019 following spells on loan to Valencia and Alavés.
Munir. In his final season with the club in 2018/19 the striker wore the number 19.
Top scorers 2020/21 (All competitions)
Youssef En-Nesyri (17), Luuk de Jong (8), Lucas Ocampos (7)
Julen Lopetegui was a goalkeeper at Barça from 1994 to 1997, but only made five official appearances. After several years working with Spanish international youth teams, he became national manager in 2016 before being dismissed in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup after announcing he was taking the Real Madrid job.
Following Barça’s 5-1 win over Madrid, he was removed from his position, and began his new role at Sevilla at the start of the last season, guiding the team to fourth in the league and winning the Europa League.
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