When the Champions League schedule was released a couple months ago, one of the first things I noticed was that the stretch the team’s in now is about the toughest of the group stages. In the last 2 weeks we’ve been at Dinamo, hosted Atleti, at Gijon, and now at mid-week we host Dinamo, and then Barca visits this weekend. That’s not the most grueling month the team has ever seen, but it’s not a cakewalk, either.
One interesting outcome of this particular stretch is we’ll have a great opportunity this week to get a sense of how Sampaoli sees the team’s chances in La Liga and Champions League. A win Wednesday could see Sevilla secure a spot in the round of 32 in the Champions League (and give the team a decent chance to take top spot in 3 weeks when they host Juventus for match day 5). Meanwhile, Sevilla is 4th in the table and would overtake Barca if they managed a win this weekend. Both games represent an opportunity, and taking full advantage of either will likely come at some expense of the other. And all of that completely ignores the Nasri situation, and the basic question of how this team even works without a player who has become absolutely essential.
It’ll be fascinating to see how it all works, and if you want to see it, remember that Europa has already started its daylight savings time, so this game starts an hour later in the US than you’re used to. Be ready, be there, and vamos.