Montella’s managerial debut in LaLiga couldn’t be more thrilling as It’s the Sevilla derby against neighbours Betis – regarded by many as the fiercest inter-city rivalry in Spanish football.
Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:
“We will prepare for the match with heart and passion, but above all with astuteness”, said Vincenzo Montella during his first press conference as Sevilla’s new manager.
Saturday’s Sevilla derby at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan will be the 107th meeting between the sides in the Spanish league, and in the 106 previous meetings Sevilla have notched up 49 wins while Betis have 32 and there have been 25 draws. Betis have lost their last four LL trips to the Pizjuan (GF 1, GA 12).
As things stand ahead of this round of matches, eight points separate Sevilla in fifth place (29pts, W9, D2, L6) to Betis in 14th (21pts, W6, D3, L8). Both sides finished 2017 with losses. Sevilla were beaten 3-1 by Real Sociedad at Anoeta and Betis lost 2-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao.
It will be Sevilla’s 1,000th win in the top flight if they manage to defeat Betis. Sevilla remain unbeaten at home in all competitions since a 3-1 loss to Juventus in November 2016.
Key battles: Colombian striker Luis Muriel played under Montella at Sampdoria in the 2015/16 season. Muriel, who has scored just three goals in LL so far this campaign, returned to the starting line-up in Sevilla’s 2-0 win at Cadiz in the Copa del Rey last Wednesday. Betis’ all-time top scorer Ruben Castro(147 goals) has returned to the club after a six-month loan spell at Chinese club Guizhou Hengfeng. Will the Betis legend add more to his goal tally in the big derby?
Stat attack: Sevilla have averaged more shots on goal per game (9.2) than Betis (8.5) in LL so far this season, but Betis (25) have scored five more goals than Sevilla (20). And it’s the Beticos who have scored the most own goals (four) in LL this season.
Sevilla: N. Pareja (hip injury), G. Pizarro (suspension), D. Carrico (doubtful), M. Gual (doubtful), Jose Mena (doubtful), A. Munoz (doubtful)
Betis: J. Amat (suspension), J. Campbell (ankle injury), A. Sanabria (knee injury), G. Guerrero (knee injury).