A weekend match, an opponent who we faced barely six months ago, and one of the most imposing stadiums in national football. Sevilla FC are back in Copa del Rey action tonight, but this match looks more like a league clash. Despite the fact that tonight's opponents are in the Second Division, in terms of their squad and aspirations, CD Leganés still have the status of a top-flight side. The Pepineros are currently in the play-off places, and therefore the Madrileños could well bounce back to LaLiga Santander at the first opportunity.
Ourense and Socuéllamos have both fallen to José Luis Martí's team in the cup so far. For the first time, the Leganés manager will face Sevilla. As a player, he won two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Super Cup and a Copa del Rey during his five years as a Sevillista. During yesterday's pre-match press conference, Lopetegui did not hesitate to praise Martí, a relatively new manager who is looking to take his team back to the top-flight after last season's relegation. Tonight's match will see reunions. As well as the Leganés manager and Sevilla academy graduate Juan Muñoz facing their former side, both Óscar Rodríguez and Youssef En-Nesyri played together at Butarque for half a season, before En-Nesyri joined the Nervionenses a year ago. Óscar Rodríguez followed in the summer.
Óscar and En-Nesyri played together for Leganés in the first half of last season
The stage for tonight's match is an unexpected one. Storm Filomena hit the capital hard last week and, as a result, the pitch at Butarque was left unplayable. This has meant that Leganés have been unable to train as normal there, and tonight's match will now be played at the Wanda Metropolitano. This means a second match in five days at that stadium for Sevilla, after facing Atlético in the league. Julen Lopetegui has picked a 21-man squad, two less than the maximum allowed. Both Jesús Navas and Rakitic have stayed in Sevilla so they can rest.
The referee in charge of tonight's match is Pablo González Fuertes from Asturias. The official is now in his fourth season in the top-flight and has only refereed one cup match for Sevilla. That match was at Riazor just over 12 months ago, as the Nervionenses progressed with a 1-0 win against Bergantiños. In the league, Sevilla have taken four points from his two matches in Nervión, but have lost all three away games. His last match in charge came in October, which was a 1-0 defeat at the Nuevo Los Cármenes. The Asturian has never refereed Leganés in the cup, but he has refereed ten league matches, across the First and Second Divisions. They have a record of three wins, three draws and four losses in those matches.