Hit or Miss? This is the question you must think of when you think of Sevilla FC this season
under the management of Vincenzo Montella. The former Italian international striker has Sevilla in 6 th
place sandwiched 1 point behind Villareal and 2 points ahead of Girona, 16 points of 4 th placed Valencia.
How exactly is a team struggling domestically as bad as Sevilla in the quarterfinals of the Champions
Under the management of previous manger Eduardo Berrizo, Sevilla were around the same place
and about as inconsistent. However, after 6 matches without a win Sevilla parted way with Berrizo and
appointed Vincenzo Montella. Montella is a manger who always seems to do better in knockout
competitions then in the league and that’s exactly what he has done with Sevilla. In a short 4-month
period he has taken Sevilla to the Copa Del Rey final on the way beating Atletico Madrid 5-2 on
aggregate. Montella’s ability in knockout competitions is very strong and Bayern should take note of this.
The first leg is a home leg and Sevilla look very on form having drawn Barcelona 2-2 at home in
a game in which they dominated. Players on the team sound very motivated and passionate to face Bayern
at home with Captain Sergio Escudero stating “If the Besiktas stadium was like hell for Bayern, we will
show the Bavarians what the great hell of Seville is like.” Other players such as Nolito and Navas have
stated that they are excited and ready to face Bayern.
However, a big worry is that Ever Banega is suspended for the first leg of the tie and will miss
only his 6 th game of the season. It will be interesting to see who replace Banega as the most similar player
to him is Roque Mesa, who has only appeared 2 times for Sevilla as Montella doesn’t fancy him. This
means that it will most likely be Guido Pizzaro who replaces Banega. Another uncertain area is defense,
due to Jesus Navas’s injury, Mercado was moved back out, however, now Jesus is back but so is Kjaer.
Recently against Barcelona, Montella used a 4-3- 2-1 with Navas on the right flank and Mercado right
back with Kjaer in the center with Lenglet. The only locks in defense are Lenglet and Escudero at center
back and left back.
In terms of tactics, Montella will most likely play a 4-3- 2-1 and press highly, attacking from the
left side. Bayern are a tough team to face due to their quality across the attacking third with Lewandowski
a pure goalscorer, Robben who endlessly cuts inside, and the midfield trio of Thiago, James, and Vidal.
The tie will most likely be won in the midfield as N’Zonzi, Franco Vazquez, Pizzaro, and Banega (2 nd leg)
are all equal to the quality of Bayern’s midfield. Whoever controls the midfield will win the tie.
Manager: Vincenzo Montella
Likely Formation: 4-3- 2-1
Goalie: Sergio Rico – The only goalie Montella has started for Sevilla and to is no reason to believe Rico
won’t start against Bayern. Recently, Rico has been on-form and consistent after errors before.
Left Back: Sergio Escudero – Ever present and consistent, the season of Sergio Escudero has been
underrated and overlooked by pretty much everyone in Spain and beyond. The stats might not show it but
watch any Sevilla game and you will see his influence.
Center Back: Clement Lenglet – Another one of Sevilla’s best performers after Escudero, Lenglet’s
impressive performances have not gone unnoticed with Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester
United all interested. Not only is he a threat from set pieces, but also, he is a very good defender not afraid
to out muscle attackers.
Center Back: Simon Kjaer – Montella has a dilemma on his hands; Mercado or Kjaer? Based on
performances I recon Mercado would start however, Kjaer has been performing very well since
recovering from his injury and he also has a better aerial presence compared to the 5’11 Mercado.
Right back: Jesus Navas – After picking up an injury against Atletico, Navas returned this weekend
putting in a solid performance against Barcelona at RW. I believe that he will most likely be chosen over
Mercado due to speed and readiness to attack.
Defensive Midfielder: Steven N’Zonzi – Ever since being reintroduced to the Sevilla squad following
Montella’s appointment he has been impressive dominating and controlling games like a certain Sergio
Busquets. He has a tough challenge against Bayern as he will have to try to control the midfield without
partner in crime Ever Banega.
Defensive Midfielder: Guido Pizzaro – Due to the absence of Ever Banega for the first leg, Pizzaro will
most likely start. But don’t undermined Pizzaro he can control the midfield just as well as N’Zonzi and
under Berrizo put in solid performances behind Banega. It will be interesting to see how he pairs with
N’Zonzi though, as they are such similar players.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Franco Vazquez – After struggling under the management of Berrizo, “El
Mudo” seems to have found his form again, putting in solid performances week in week out nutmegging
players, assisting and scoring goals.
Left Wing: Joaquin Correa – Another player that has found his best form since the appointment of
Montella, Correa has blossomed into more than a dribble merchant, learning how to pass and shoot better
and has 4 goals and 2 assists since the arrival of Montella.
Right Wing; Pablo Sarabia – A vital and versatile player for Sevilla, Sarabia has 8 goals and 8 assists this
season and can play anywhere in midfield or up top. Surely one to watch.
Striker: Wissam Ben Yedder – After Luis Muriel’s horror show against Barcelona in which he missed
multiple big chances, Montella should go with a player who can score goals in Ben Yedder.
Bench: David Soria, Gabriel Mercado, Guilherme Arana, Roque Mesa or Geis, Nolito, Luis Muriel,
Sandro, Pareja or Carrico.
Ineligible: Miguel Layun, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Lionel Carole and Ever Banega (First Leg Suspension).
Injuries: Sébastien Corchia
Photo: Antonio Pizzarro