Sevilla finishing 7th last season meant that they would start their 18/19 Europa League journey on 26 July, when they would face the first of the three knock-out rounds they would have to get through if they wanted to be in the competition they have come to dominate. With its prestige, size and budget, the Nervionenses have to qualify - and they qualified in style. 17 goals scored and only one conceded show the authority with which Sevilla navigated these qualifiers.
For the aforementioned reasons, it was essential that Sevilla qualify. However, the matches should not be taken as a formality, given what happened with other big European clubs. It should be noted that there were eight teams from the continent's eight best leagues who, like Sevilla, did not qualify directly for the group stages.
The tightest tie that Sevilla faced was sealed with a 4-0 win
The fact that only three out of the eight teams with the highest country ranking in the knock-out rounds qualified demonstrates that these rounds are no trivial matter. And of the three teams, Leipzig only secured their qualification through a goal in injury time in their last match, while Bordeaux could not beat any of their three rivals by more than two goals difference. Sevilla is the third team, whose 'tightest' knock-out tie was sealed with a 4-0 win. Of the top eight countries, only Sevilla, Bordeaux and Leipzig qualified, with Burnley, Atlanta, Ufa, Rio Ave and Mariupol failing to qualify.
Sevilla's efforts this summer should therefore be valued and have brought them to the group stages, which, unlike many teams, they start having already had a long journey to get there.
A report by Álvaro Yanes (Salmonpalangana.com)