The six-time champion of the Europa League rebels against the favoritism of the Champions League champion in a Super Cup final marked by the virus and the clash of two very different cultures
Monchi always remembers that the best match that Seville has seen was the final of the European Super Cup that he beat Barcelona in 2006 in Monaco (3-0). The Seville of people like Palop, Navas, Adriano, Renato, Alves, Maresca, Puerta, Luis Fabiano or Kanouté left a match for the history of the Andalusian team. Fourteen years later, Sevilla have won five more Europa League tournaments and, in their own way, they have earned the right to play another of the greatest games of this glittering century thanks to their love for a competition, the Europa League, which pamper yourself to exhaustion.
It will be in Budapest, at the Puskas Arena, in times of pandemic, where he will face the stratospheric Bayern (Movistar, 9:00 pm). In an age of uncertainties, however, some certainties remain. The final faces two teams from very different football cultures. Bayern is a history of world football that now aims to mark an era with that kind of total football that overwhelms its rival. Bayern are so big that they won the last Champions League, winning every game they played in a competition they have won six times. Through exhibitions such as 2-8 at Messi’s Barcelona. He files what he needs by pulling millions and, at the same time, is directed by former players who preserve a very footballing air in decision-making. There are 22 victories in a row that this colossus accumulates that last Friday scored eight against Schalke without disheveled. And the giant, in addition, is trained by Hansi Flick, who knows how hard it is to get a position in the elite. Acting on the Bayern bench after the departure of Niko Kovac in November 2019, despite having formed a seamless team that has won the League, Cup and Champions, he moves with humility. “Our 99% will not be enough to defeat Sevilla. It is a very mature and well-trained team, with great tactical work behind it ”, said the coach of the number one ranking of UEFA clubs. Bayern have hardly changed in this unusual season. Of course, it presents the absence of Thiago, who has left for Liverpool. The most prominent discharge is the signing of Sané.
Sevilla is the eighth on the prestigious European list. Above teams like Manchester United or Liverpool. Their culture also inspires greatness, but from Monchi’s wisdom to sell high what he buys cheap, which gives good results. A miracle that is also based on a feeling of belief in being able to do important things that is often imposed on logic. Thus, while Rakitic warns his new teammates about how Bayern players passed them like airplanes in the Champions League quarterfinal match with Barcelona, Monchi puts them like motorcycles. “They give us for dead. We are going to show them how Sevilla compete ”. This is how the sports director addresses a group where Ever Banega is no longer present and where Rakitic, Acuña and Óscar Rodríguez have arrived.
“Bayern is a steamroller,” proclaims the president, José Castro, while Lopetegui is considering the option of playing with three centrals to shield himself against the attacking power of the German champion. With Bono goalkeeper, Gudelj would enter the center of the defense along with Koundé and Diego Carlos, with Navas and Escudero de lane. Fernando, Rakitic and Jordán would be in the center of the field, with En-Nesyri as a forward escorted with Ocampos. The Basque coach, obsessed with looking for Bayern’s weak points, is not clear about it. If he plays with his usual 4-3-3, it would be Suso who entered for Gudelj.
“This final is a wonderful curve that football puts us ahead of us. We have earned the right to play a fantastic final against a rival like Bayern, a team with soccer virtues and a forcefulness that I had not seen in a long time, “said Lopetegui himself, who referred to the possibility of playing with three centrals to stop Bayern’s overwhelming offensive power. “It is true that throughout the season we have used some variations, but it is also true that we are a fairly predictable team in what we do. But, above any tactical consideration, there is the ambition and the courage of our players to offer our best version against Bayern ”, he clarified.
The final has been taken by UEFA as a rehearsal in these times of the coronavirus. For the first time there will be an audience at a European meeting now with the virus fired again (around 20,000 out of a capacity of 67,000). Half a thousand sevillistas have traveled in the midst of serious health protocols. The new times of a football that holds a final between a world colossus and another that has managed to sneak into these instances thanks to a twenty-first century of great splendor.