Sevilla’s quest for a fourth UEFA Europa League title continues in the round of 16 against Slavia Praha, impressive conquerors last time out of Belgian league leaders Genk.
• In the round of 32 Sevilla were too strong for Lazio, winning 1-0 in Rome and 2-0 in Seville. They had had had to wait until matchday six to seal their place in the knockout phase, defeating Krasnodar 3-0 at home to finish above them at the top of Group J on the head-to-head rule.
• Slavia made it through the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time, finishing runners-up to Zenit in Group C with ten points. They knocked out Genk with a 4-1 second-leg win in Belgium following a 0-0 draw in Prague.
• Sevilla beat Slavia 4-2 at home and 3-0 away in 2007/08 as both clubs made their debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Sevilla strikers Luís Fabiano and Frédéric Kanouté were on target in both games.
• Sevilla have never lost in seven UEFA encounters against Czech opposition (W4 D3). They have already faced a Czech club this season, overcoming Sigma Olomouc 4-0 on aggregate in the play-offs (1-0 away, 3-0 home).
• Slavia have posted just one win in ten games against Spanish opposition and are without a victory in Spain – though they have drawn on each of their last two visits, the most recent 2-2 at Villarreal in last season’s UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Although they were UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists last term, seventh place in Spain’s Liga meant that Sevilla’s first match back in the UEFA Europa League since their 2016 final success against Liverpool was in the second qualifying round. They went on to win six of out six in qualifying, beating Újpest, Žalgiris Vilnius and Olomouc home and away.
• Sevilla topped Group J with 12 points, scoring 18 goals – the most of any of the 48 clubs in the group stage – with 14 coming at home. Their 5-1 matchday one win against Standard was the first time they had scored more than four goals at home in a European match; they then beat Akhisar 6-0 on matchday three.
• This is Sevilla’s fifth appearance in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase and fourth in the round of 16, where they have a perfect record. En route to winning the competition three times in a row from 2013/14 to 2015/16, they claimed last-16 successes against, respectively, city rivals Real Betis (0-2 home, 2-0 away, 4-3 on pens), Villarreal (3-1 away, 2-1 home) and Basel (0-0 away, 3-0 home).
• Sevilla have won all seven European home games this season, scoring 24 goals and conceding just one, which has extended to 18 matches their winning run at home to non-Spanish opposition in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included. Their last two home defeats in this competition have both been to fellow Liga sides; the last non-Spanish team to deny them victory at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán were Portuguese outfit Estoril, who held them to a 1-1 draw there in the 2013/14 group stage.
• As runners-up to Viktoria Plzeň in the 2017/18 Czech Liga, Slavia earned a spot in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, where defeat by Dynamo Kyiv (1-1 home, 0-2 away) sent them into the UEFA Europa League group stage. They won the Czech Cup last term, defeating Jablonec 3-1 in the final.
• Slavia’s two previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, in 2009/10 and 2017/18, both ended unsuccessfully, but they made it third time lucky this term, scoring just four goals in their six games but finishing above København and Bordeaux.
• UEFA Cup semi-finalists in 1995/96, Slavia’s most recent appearance in the last 16 of a European competition was in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup, when they were knocked out by Beşiktaş (1-0 home, 2-4 away).
• The 4-1 triumph at Genk is only Slavia’s third European away win in their last 26 fixtures (D10 L13). They have failed to score in three of their other four away fixtures this season – defeats at Dynamo, Zenit (0-1) and Bordeaux (0-2).
Links and trivia
• Tomáš Vaclík is a Czech Republic international and played in his homeland for Vítkovice (2007–10), Viktoria Žižkov (2010–12) and Sparta Praha (2012–14). While he was at Žižkov, current Slavia boss Jindřich Trpišovský and goalkeeping coach Štěpán Kolář were on the club’s staff.
• Vaclík played against Slavia in the Czech league on six occasions, once for Žižkov and five times for Sparta (W4 D1 L1).
• Sevilla’s three new mid-season arrivals all played in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage – Maximilian Wöber for Ajax, Munir El Haddadi for Barcelona and Marko Rog for Napoli.
• Slavia’s January signing Lukáš Masopust made three appearances for Jablonec in this season’s UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Sevilla are one of only two clubs involved in the round of 16 to have won the UEFA Europa League, alongside 2012/13 champions Chelsea. There are five others who, like Sevilla (2005/06 and 2006/07), lifted the trophy in its previous guise as the UEFA Cup.
• Sevilla became the fifth side to score 100 goals in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, when Wissam Ben Yedder opened the scoring in the round of 32 second-leg win against Lazio.
• With six goals Ben Yedder is joint second in the competition’s top scorer standings, one behind Salzburg’s Munas Dabbur.
• Slavia’s four goals in the group stage was the fewest by any of the 32 qualified teams, including the eight who finished third in their UEFA Champions League group. They doubled that tally in the win at Genk.
• Slavia are one of four clubs involved in this round of 16 who have never previously participated at this juncture of the UEFA Europa League; Eintracht Frankfurt, Dinamo Zagreb and Rennes are the others.
• Sevilla are the longest surviving team in this season’s UEFA Europa League, having started in the second qualifying round.
• Pablo Machín was appointed by Sevilla as their new head coach on a two-year contract in May 2018 – a reward for four progressive campaigns at the helm of Catalan outfit Girona, whom he guided into the Spanish top flight before exceeding expectations by leading them to a tenth-placed Liga finish in 2017/18. Forced to retire from playing at 23, he had a lengthy association with home-town club Numancia before joining Girona in 2014. This is his first season on the European stage.
• Heavily influenced by Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, Jindřich Trpišovský started out as a youth coach at Sparta Praha before impressing with his work at second-division Viktoria Žižkov. He then took over at Slovan Liberec in 2017, leading the club into the UEFA Europa League group stage two seasons running. He left Liberec for Slavia in December 2017 and won the Czech Cup with the Prague outfit the following spring.