Tonight is the night – Betis (2) vs Jablonec (1)

Tonight is the night to get into the draw tomorrow. Betis can secure their place in the Europa League main draw which is taking place tomorrow in Monaco with a victory over their Czech opponents.

Betis won a week ago with a 2-1 away victory in the Czech Republic to give their team a great chance to advance. However, the lead is slender and with Betis’ shaky defence and finishing issues against Celta they need to be very careful, smart and focussed. Betis have an uncanny knack of making things really complicated for themselves from controlled positions. No doubt Pepe Mel has drilled all this into his players: this is the biggest game the club has played for years. As AFDLP put it, Betis have to enjoy, live for the moment and enrich their experience – that goes for the fans as well!

The 19 Pepe Mel has picked to send Betis to Europa League proper are: Andersen, Sara; Nacho, Jordi Figueras, Paulao, Amaya, Chica; Carlos García, Nono, Matilla, Salva Sevilla, Xavi Torres, Verdú, Cedrick, Juanfran; Chuli, Braian, Jorge Molina & Rubén Castro.

No place in the squad for Vadillo, who started last week, or for Markus Steinhofer. Perquis is out after getting injured against Celta.

Expect Pepe Mel to change his system to more of a 4-4-2, although a slightly asymmetrical one. We could see Salva Sevilla and Juanfran form a part of the starting line-up. Jorge Molina will start again upfront, hopefully with his scoring boots, and Rubén Castro will take his place on the bench having just come back from injury. Hopefully Rubén will only need to be used as part of a planned second half change and not in haste or panic.

The game kicks off at 20:30 GMT so there is a little over than an hour till kick off. For sure el Benito Villamarín will be bouncing. Mucha suerta to the players – let’s get in that draw!

 

7 years later – EuroBetis

As Real Betis Balompié official website put it – El EuroBetis entra en escena siete años después – EuroBetis enter the stage 7 years later.

Tonight’s game against Czech Republic opposition, FK Jablonec, will cap a remarkable turnaround for the Real Betis. To say a lot has happened since Betis took on the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Anderlecht in the Champions League group stages, would be an understatement.

Relegation. Theft. Fraud. Administration. Law suits. Promotion.

And now here we are on the cusp of full blown European competition again – 7 years and 5 months, or 2,716 days, since Betis bowed out to Steaua Bucharest in quarter finals of the UEFA cup in 2006.

Betis are now in a much better place and are being led by two incredible Spaniards who are Béticos through and through. Miguel Guillén and Rafael Gordillo travelled yesterday from Seville to Prague to lead the green and white army into battle. In tow were Pepe Mel and 20 players picked to do the business.

nacho_jablonec

Nacho training in the Chance Arena

The likely line-ups for tonight’s game are:

Real Betis: Sara; Steinhöfer, Paulao, Perquis, Nacho; Xavi Torres, Nosa, Verdú; Vadillo, Cedrick & Jorge Molina.

FK Jablonec: Spit; Kubista, Kysela, Benes, Novak; Kopic, Loucka, Pitak, Cizek; Vanek & Hubnik.

The game kicks off in the aptly named Chance Arena at 5pm GMT (6pm CET).

Betis obviously need to win the tie over two legs to be put into the draw for the Europa League group stages. If they can do that, it will be an unbelievable moment for the club once again.

Vamos EuroBetis!

Picture from http://www.alfinaldelapalmera.com