Sevilla’s Europa journey continues Thursday with the last hurdle before qualification: the playoff round against WKS Śląsk Wroclaw. We have all kinds of exciting analysis for this one, but before we move on, just on the off chance someone asks you what game you’re watching huddled over your computer at work tomorrow, a handy guide: you pronounce it “shlahsk vraht-swahf”. Now you can mock people who say it wrong!
About that “watching huddled over your computer”: unlike last leg’s fiasco, where Sevilla couldn’t come to an agreement with GolTV and the games weren’t televised, Sevilla has helpfully announced that their own SFC TV will be showing this game! That should cut down on the number of Monchi’s Men readers having to follow the game via the comments section, Sevilla radio, and/or Marca’s in-game commentary–joy!
Sevilla, of course, comes into this game with its share of adversity–there’s the harsh reality of the Atlético loss at home (to two goals by Diego Costa, ugh) that has taken away a fair amount of our pre-season optimism and glow, and there’s the loss of Pareja to a fractured humerus which sent the club into something of an injury crisis about 45 minutes after the season began. How Sevilla copes with that absence will be a key story as they try to avoid conceding at home in this two-legged playoff. Also key: Gameiro’s fitness, if whatever kept Kondogbia from starting on the weekend will keep him out again, how Bacca and Gameiro will work together (if they do–we’re yet to see them on the field together), whether this late-summer Andalusian heat wave will help Sevilla/hinder Śląsk, and if Perotti can go a second game without his knee falling apart and/or detaching from his body. Lots of storylines!!!
One of the joys of the Europa League, and in particular these early matches, is the exposure to teams you might not have heard of before, and typically wouldn’t otherwise get to hear about. It can be a fun way to be exposed to other team and fan cultures, but it can also be somewhat frustrating to face teams with absolutely no idea of what to expect. Happily, commenter ulver lives just 25 minutes from this team’s stadium, and has helpfully offered something of a scouting report:
Probably you want to know something about Sevilla’s new rival. Śląsk play in a similar way to Sevilla in last season, a 4–2–3–1 formation with one DM – Kaźmiwerczak and one CM – Dalibor Stevanovič (In Sev we have Miroslav, and in Śląsk there is also Amir Spahić ). Left and right backs make offensive raids.
The most important player in the team is Sebastian Mila “11″ – he is similar type of player to Rakitić. Both are: capitans, playmakers, rather slow, creative and have great execution of free kicks and corners. He is playing behind a central striker and was chosen the best midfielder in Ekstraklasa two years in a row.
Second most important is winger – Waldemar Sobota “5″ (Sobota means Saturday in Polish). He is similar to Marko Marin. Fast, good dribbler with good schot.
Good new signings: strikers Paixao “19″ and Plaku “7″, left defender with extremely accurate crosses – Dudu Paraiba “12″
Another important player is Przemysław Każmierczak “26″ – he had an episode in FC Porto. Experienced, high and strong DM with good long passes and shot.
Ulver has also helpfully added some YouTube links to highglights of certain players as well as from the last round of Europa qualifying, where they overcame Brugge–the second leg was a 3–3 barnburner that’s worth watching just because it was a fun game.
The game will be played in hot, hot Sevilla at 9:30pm local time, 3:30pm EST in the USA. Let’s all fire up SFC TV, open up the comments section, and celebrate as the team returns to winning ways!