The first Seville derby of the season arrives with Real Betis and Sevilla FC just a few positions apart in the table and with both clubs determined to climb even higher.
Following the Christmas festivities, it’s time to look ahead to the new year as LaLiga Santander will serve up El Gran Derbi on 2 January, 2021.
The Seville derby between Real Betis and Sevilla FC is one of the most intense, most exciting and most passionate fixtures in LaLiga Santander year after year.
It’ll be a major sporting challenge for both teams, with both sides having had good enough starts to the season to hover around the top half, even though neither side has been able to properly settle into the very highest spots of the table. Sevilla FC and Real Betis are both looking to finish inside the European places.
The most recent meetings have gone in Sevilla FC’s favour
Led by Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla FC are looking to enter the title race and to do so they’ll need to overcome their biggest rivals away from home at the Estadio Benito Villamarín, where they managed to win 2-1 last season when goals from Lucas Ocampos and Luuk de Jong cancelled out the effort from Loren Morón.
Sevilla FC also earned victory last season when Real Betis visited the Estadio Sánchez Pizjuán in LaLiga Santander, so Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be taking on Lopetegui’s men keen for revenge.
A victory that both teams need
Since the start of the campaign, both Real Betis and Sevilla FC have been subject to fierce – and sometimes unfair – criticism, as these are two squads packed full of talent and their successes over the past few years have increased expectations among their fanbases.
There’s no doubt that earning victory in a match as important as this would be a defining moment for a Sevilla FC side still looking upwards at league leaders Atlético Madrid, even if the capital city side have inched ahead in the table in recent weeks.
It would also be a huge victory for Real Betis, a club looking to return to European competition after a two-year absence. In the last few matchdays, they’ve managed to move closer to these qualification spots.
It’s clear to see, therefore, that this will once again be a fixture that isn’t for the faint-hearted. That’s because of the league table arithmetic at stake, but also the moral boost that victory over a city rival would mean.
Real Betis to have more absences
The match perhaps arrives at a worse time for Real Betis than for Sevilla FC, as Pellegrini will be without the injured Víctor Camarasa, Sergio Canales and William Carvalho and has further doubts with important players such as Marc Bartra, who has had injury concerns of late.
On the other hand, Sevilla FC have almost their entire squad available apart from the injured Tomáš Vaclík and Sergio Escudero, while they can count on last year’s derby heroes Ocampos and De Jong.
Home advantage, of course, is for Real Betis in this Gran Derbi, a match where the outcome could be key to shaping the short-term and medium-term futures of both these clubs.