Sevilla take on the visitors Lens in the round 1 match of UEFA Champions League group stage. The match will be played on Tuesday, September 20th at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (Sevilla).
Sevilla disappoint their fans once again. White Andalusia was arguably the biggest disappointment in Spanish football last season. They suddenly lost their ability to play under Julen Lopetegui, and his successor, Jorge Sampaoli, despite his talent and experience (including a previous stint at Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán), couldn't really fix anything. Things only improved in the spring when, after another coaching change, the post was handed to Mendilibar. He not only improved things in La Liga but also won the Europa League, the signature tournament of this project, which is why they are now playing in the Champions League group stage. However, after the summer break and the forced sale of a couple of key players, the ambitious club has once again stalled at the start of the season.
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Lens returns to the tournament after a 20-year hiatus. Blood and Gold couldn't even make it back to the top division of the country for a long time. However, the current coach, Frank Hess (along with significant investors in the form of Amber Capital LP), quickly changed that. The team finally moved up to Ligue 1 in 2020 and immediately established themselves in the upper part of the table. Last season, they surprised everyone once again, finishing just one point behind the perennial favorite, PSG, and becoming the country's vice-champion. They managed to find the funds for some not-so-cheap newcomers, such as Andy Diouf (€15 million) and Elie Wai (a whopping €30 million). However, the results have not lived up to expectations, and the start of the new season has been a total failure.
This will be the first match between these clubs. Sevilla have a chance to redeem themselves in the Champions League for their failures in La Liga. Considering the difference in experience and the home field advantage, we believe in the success of the Spaniards.
Prediction for the match: Sevilla to win.