Tuesday's match against Wolverhampton Wanderers is getting ever closer. Wolves, the name they normally go by in England, have had a season of ups and downs. They have performed well in the Europa League, but two wins in their final six Premier League matches meant that Tottenham Hotspur beat them to sixth place on the final day of the season, which, combined with eighth-placed Arsenal winning the FA Cup, means that they were unable to secure European qualification via the league. Their only means of qualifying for Europe is by winning this tournament.
Defeat on the final day of the season at Stamford Bridge meant that Nuno Espírito Santo's side missed out on qualification for the Europa League, but they responded to that setback on Thursday night with a 1-0 win at home to Olympiacos, sending them through 2-1 on aggregate. The Portuguese manager has a number of players from our neighbouring country, and has built a talented, hard-working side, who are strong on the counter attack and have a very defined style.
Espírito Santo has always used a formation with three defenders, but with variation in the middle, either using four or five midfielders as they look for control of the match and quick breakaways. Ex-Atlético striker Raul Jiménez is their top scorer with 27 goals in all competitions, with 17 in the league and 10 in Europe. They finished the season with 51 league goals scored and 40 conceded, numbers which are narrowly behind Sevilla FC's numbers of 54 and 34. Other ex-LaLiga players in their squad include Jonny Otto and Adama Traoré.
The Europa League tie between Wolves and RCD Espanyol, a signal to maintain our competitiveness
In Europe, the side from the West Midlands finished in second place in Group K, behind Sporting de Braga, with four wins, a draw and a defeat, scoring eleven and conceding five. Their best performance, however, would come in the Round of 32, where they faced RCD Espanyol. The first leg at Molineux, nearly six months ago, saw a stunning 4-0 win against the Catalan side, a scoreline that allowed them to play without pressure in Cornellá, where a 3-2 loss meant the English side progressed 6-3 on aggregate.
Our eighth English opponent in European competition
It is also worth mentioning that this is the first time that the two sides have met in Europe. Wolves, who were runners-up in the 1971/72 UEFA Cup, where they were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur in a two-legged tie, are the eighth English side that the Nervionenses have faced in European competition, following in the footsteps of Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Sevilla FC will face Wolves at the MSV-Arena in Duisburg on Tuesday at 21:00 CET. Julen Lopetegui's side began to prepare the encounter with their first training session yesterday, and will continue to do so in Andalusia until Monday, when they will travel back to Germany just days after the 2-0 win against AS Roma, also in Duisburg.