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Experienced campaigner Jesus Navas will captain Sevilla once again in 2021-22
Experienced campaigner Jesus Navas will captain Sevilla once again in 2021-22

Sevilla finished comfortably in fourth place in LaLiga — 15 points ahead of Real Sociedad.

A strong mid-season run with just two defeats in 17 league matches meant they qualified for the Champions League with five games to spare.

At that point, Sevilla were only three points off the top of the table.

But they could only muster two wins from their final five matches and finished nine points behind LaLiga winners Atletico Madrid.

Sevilla's Champions League group

Group G: Lille, Sevilla, FC Salzburg, Wolfsburg

European history

Sevilla reached the Champions League round of 16 last season, finishing second in Group E behind Chelsea, before losing 5-4 on aggregate to Borussia Dortmund.

The furthest the Rojiblancos have gone in the Champions League was when they reached the quarter-final in 2017-18.

But they have won the UEFA Cup or Europa League a record six times.

Their first triumph was in 2005-06 against Middlesbrough, while under Unai Emery they won it three years in a row from 2014-2016 – beating Benfica, Dnipro and Liverpool in the three finals.

They were at it again in the 2019-20 campaign, beating the likes of Roma, Wolves and Manchester United, before winning 3-2 in the final against Inter Milan.

Expectations

After qualifying in such convincing fashion, Sevilla will have high hopes in the Champions League this season
After qualifying in such convincing fashion, Sevilla will have high hopes in the Champions League this season

Given their Europa League exploits, a third-place finish in the Champions League group stage might not be seen as quite the failure it is at other clubs but Sevilla will be hoping to at least match last season by reaching the knockout rounds.

They have only made it to the quarter-finals once since the Champions League was created, so getting that far again would be a significant achievement.

Manager Julen Lopetegui was in charge when Sevilla won their last Europa League title and knows what it takes to win knockout ties in Europe.

Star man: Youssef En-Nesyri

Youssef En-Nesyri has developed into one of LaLiga's top forwards under Julen Lopetegui's tutelage
Youssef En-Nesyri has developed into one of LaLiga's top forwards under Julen Lopetegui's tutelage

Youssef En-Nesyri managed almost a goal every two games last season, in a relatively low-scoring Sevilla side.

His 18 league strikes made up 34% of all the goals scored by the Andalusia outfit in LaLiga.

The 24-year-old has always had potential, but more than doubled his previous best goal tally — hitting the net 24 times in all competitions, and justifying the reported £17million that Sevilla paid Leganes for his services.

That fee seemed too high at the time, but now it is starting to look like a bargain.

Mobile and good in the air, En-Nesyri is getting a lot of interest from other teams, and if he can prove last season’s goalscoring streak was not just a purple patch, the Moroccan international will find himself in serious demand next summer.

One to watch: Rafa Mir

Rafa Mir's form at Huesca saw Sevilla swoop for his signature this summer
Rafa Mir's form at Huesca saw Sevilla swoop for his signature this summer

When forward Rafa Mir struggled to get in the Wolves team and did not score a single goal in six months on loan at Championship side Nottingham Forest in 2019, few could have predicted that 18 months later he would be one of Spain’s most sought-after strikers.

But 22 goals in 56 league matches on loan to Huesca caught the eye of some of LaLiga’s biggest clubs.

And it was Sevilla who won the race for the forward, beating champions Atleti to Mir’s signature.

He arrives fresh from a trip to Japan, where he scored a hat-trick against the Ivory Coast to help Spain win a silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The boss: Julen Lopetegui

Former Spain boss Lopetegui could have led his country at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but was sacked on the eve of the tournament after accepting the Real Madrid job.

He only lasted for 14 games with Los Blancos and though he might have some regrets about how the summer of 2018 panned out, he has certainly bounced back at Sevilla.

The 54-year-old has managed to finish in the top four in both of his two seasons at the club and is making them a force to be reckoned with in Spanish football once again.

All information correct as of 10am, September 14, 2021

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