Sevilla FC return to work this Monday after three days of well-earned rest with a difficult schedule lying ahead once the international break comes to an end. Seven games in three weeks, five away, four extremely tough and two home games against CD Leganés - who couldn't get points in Nervión last season - and Spartak Moscow - who will look to stand in the way of a path to the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
This week, the question that rears its head is how Sevilla FC will respond. The Nervionenses will play away against Athletic Club, Spartak Moscow, Valencia CF and FC Barcelona, four clashes that in one way or another will expose the potential of a side looking to continue with what has been an impressive start to the season on demanding away stages.
In Bilbao, where the side play next, Sevilla FC have not picked up a win since September 2009. That was at the start of the 09/10 season, when Manolo Jiménez' side was thrashed 0-4, with a goal from the sole survivor of the fixture, Jesús Navas. Since then, there have been seven consecutive losses for Sevilla, the last four taking place in the New San Mamés.
The next stop will be Moscow against Spartak, reigning champs of Russia. Sevilla FC have played in Moscow on three occasions, with one loss (3-1 against Torpedo in October 1990), one win (0-1 against Lokomotiv in the knock-out stages of the 05/06 UEFA Cup) and one draw against CSKA in the knock-out stages of the 2010 Champions League.
After Russia, Sevilla travel to the Mestalla to face Valencia CF, where Sevilla last won in the 11/12 season (1-2), again with a goal from Jesús Navas. An extremely difficult clash, against a side unbeaten this season and with three wins out of four at home.
The tough on-the-road clashes will be broken up (only on paper) with a Copa del Rey visit to Cartagena and a home fixture against Leganés. However, immediately after the curveballs keep coming: on the first of November Sevilla host Spartak in what could be a crucial fixture in sealing their Champions League fate and then, the weekend after, travel to the Camp Nou to face FC Barcelona, where the side has not picked up three points since 02/03, and have only won in 6 out of 73 visits.