Sevilla take on Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 knockout tie at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The two clubs have not met since the group stage of the Europa League in the 2009-10 season, with both still looking to establish themselves at Europe’s top table.
Sevilla have been in superb form of late, winning their last nine matches in all competitions and only conceding one goal during that entire timeframe.
After winning the Europa League for a record sixth time last season, Julen Lopetegui’s primary objectives of progressing to the Champions League knockout stage and finishing in the top four of La Liga look firmly on course to being achieved.
Indeed, Saturday’s 1-0 win over Huesca opened up a seven-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed Real Sociedad with a game in hand, so Lopetegui is free to direct every ounce of energy his players have into progressing past Dortmund.
Given their phenomenal collective defensive strength and the disarray Dortmund have found themselves in of late, Sevilla must fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-final of the Champions League for only the second time in their history.
Dortmund, of course, won this competition in 1997 and reached the final as recently as 2013, but their prospects of replicating either of those feats look remote at this point in time.
Transitional season is one of football’s most over-used phrases, but it is certainly applicable to Dortmund after sacking Lucien Favre in December and temporarily replacing him with Edin Terzic. BVB are currently in a state of stasis, though it was confirmed on Monday that Marco Rose will take over in the summer.
Unlike Sevilla, too, their place in their domestic league’s Champions League qualification places is anything but secure, with Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Hoffenheim leaving them six points behind Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg in third and fourth place respectively.
However, it should not be forgotten than Dortmund topped their group while Sevilla did not, and in Erling Braut Haaland they have a player who can threaten any opposition on his day. The Norway striker has scored six goals in four matches in this season’s competition and will be determined to prove his status as the most recent Golden Boy winner is a more than worthy one by scoring a crucial away goal for his side.
Sevilla Champions League form: DWWWLW
Sevilla form (all competitions): WWWWWW
Borussia Dortmund Champions League form: LWWWDW
Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions): LLWWLD