Wolves’ dreams of a first European trophy will be put to the test against record five-time Europa League winners Sevilla in one of the toughest quarter-finals ties.
From playing League One football in 2014 to competing for a Europa League semi-final spot on Tuesday night, Wolves’ rise to prominence has been impressive indeed. The question is will it continue? Sevilla may be no threat in La Liga, but underestimating them in this competition is better avoided.
The Andalusians have tasted Europa League glory a record five times, including a hat-trick of successes between 2014 and 2016. Now they seek another and proved their credentials last Thursday against Roma in the last-16; where Sergio Reguilon and Youssef En-Nesyri goals sealed a dominant 2-0 win.
Wolves, on the other hand, scraped a 1-0 win over Olympiacos in their own tie to progress 2-1 on aggregate. Raul Jimenez’s penalty was enough during a nervy night at Molineux.
The winner of Tuesday’s showdown in Duisburg, Germany, will meet either Manchester United or Copenhagen in the final four.
Wolves Form & Team News
Narrowly missing out on a top-six finish in the Premier League, coupled with Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph, means Wolves must win the Europa League to compete in Europe next season. If successful, they’ll qualify for the Champions League.
It’s also the first time since 1972 that the Wanderers have progressed to a European quarter-final, and their 17th game in a Europa League campaign that began on July 25 last year.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have already overcome Spanish opposition as well, beating Espanyol 6-3 on aggregate in the Round of 32 in February. A run of three defeats in their last six Premier League games is a worry, though. There are also concerns that 59 games this term has taken a toll on the small squad.
The underwhelming home victory against Olympiacos last week did little to ease these fears. But while the Greek side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and shots, Nuno’s defense was solid. This aspect could be decisive in the upcoming clash with Sevilla.
Jonny Otto is out of the game after coming with a knee injury 17 minutes into the 1-0 win against Olympiacos. His place as a left wing-back will possibly be taken by Ruben Vinagre. Daniel Podence, meanwhile, is suspended for his yellow card accumulation.
Sevilla Form & Team News
Julen Lopetegui’s side are on a club-record 18-match unbeaten run in all competitions, winning and drawing nine times. Their last defeat, in fact, was on February 9 against Celta Vigo – exactly six months ago.
Sevilla also rounded off their La Liga campaign strongly by winning five of their last six games to secure a fourth-place finish and Champions League football for next season. Hence, they’ll be under less pressure than Wolves.
The Nervionenses have since extended their run to six wins in seven games following their victory over Roma. Lopetegui, meanwhile, has worked his magic since taking over last summer as Sevilla are strong in defense, savvy in midfield and an improved attacking threat now.
Despite lingering doubts over their futures, Sergio Reguilon and Ever Banega will probably start against Wolves. Although Nemanja Gudelj, who tested positive for COVID-19 a week ago, is doubtful. Otherwise, Lopetegui should be able to call on a fully fit squad.
Sevilla, who will make their sixth quarter-final appearance in the competition are narrow favorites. Their greater experience and strong form make their case, with Betfair pricing them at 2.20. A Wolves win, meanwhile, is available at 3.55.
Both clubs are defensively sound, with Sevilla keeping 25 clean sheets in all competitions this season and Wolves just three less on 22. They’ve also conceded a combined four goals in their last five games. Add the increased tension in this one quarter-final clash, betting for under 2.5 goals seems the way to go.
If you fancy a more daring bet, the tie could head into extra-time. So Betfair’s odds of 3.25 for a draw may have value.
0-0 at Half-Time
A closer look at Sevilla’s stats shows that six of their last 11 games have finished goalless at half-time. While Wolves are somewhat famed for scoring second-half goals since Nuno took charge in 2017. Therefore, we could have a slow start in Duisburg.
SkyBet is offering odds of 6/4 on Oddscheker at the time of writing.
BBTS – No
Sevilla and Wolves have both scored an average of 1.4 goals in their last five games. That, plus their strong defensive records, means we could have a low-goal encounter. So both teams may not get on the scoresheet.