Battle hardened ...Sevilla hoping to make big match experience count against Bayern in CL
MADRID, Spain (AP):
Faring well against some of Europe's top teams has given Sevilla confidence of matching Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
Sevilla eliminated Manchester United in the last 16 and was a few minutes away from defeating Barcelona in the Spanish league last weekend.
The Spanish club host five-time European champion Bayern today in the first leg at Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
"We are getting used to playing these high-profile matches every three days," Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella said yesterday. "It helps us become better and maximise the talent that we have."
Sevilla got past United 2-1 on aggregate, drawing at home and winning in Manchester. On Saturday, it was comfortably defeating Spanish league leader Barcelona 2-0 until the 88th minute, when Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored to salvage a 2-2 draw.
"They are different matches, but Bayern and Barcelona have the same game philosophy," Sevilla midfielder Pablo Sarabia said. "We will need to play with intensity and be very efficient. We will rely on our own weapons and in the end we will see if that's enough to eliminate Bayern and advance."
Bayern, in the quarter-finals for the ninth time in 10 seasons and coming off a 6-0 rout of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, was not taking Sevilla lightly despite being considered the clear favourite.
"The best example to back up what I think of the danger Sevilla can pose to us is its performance against Barcelona on Saturday," Bayern defender Javi Martinez said. "Sevilla's rise in recent seasons has been meteoric. Sevilla is one of the most dangerous rivals we could have been drawn against."
Sevilla is trying to establish itself as a major player in the Champions League after winning the Europa League three times in the last four seasons.
It is in the last eight for the first time in nearly 60 years. Last year, it was eliminated in the last 16 by Leicester City.