Sevilla chase Gladbach win to keep hopes alive
BERLIN: Sevilla need a victory at winless Borussia Moenchengladbach today to keep alive their faint hopes of progress to the Champions League’s knockout stage in the Group D basement battle.
A win at bottom side Gladbach is the only way third-placed Sevilla will still have any hope of reaching the last 16, when they host Juventus on December 8. Victory at Borussia Park would guarantee them at least a place in the Europa League, which they have won for the last two years running. With Gladbach’s Champions League exit already confirmed, defeat would confirm the Germans will finish bottom of the group, but they want to knock Sevilla from third to advance to the Europa League. “We need to be courageous and play our own game, like we did against Juventus,” said Gladbach’s Guinea winger Ibrahima Traore. “Our confidence is high, we are in good shape and our goal is third place to qualify for the Europa League.”
Gladbach are buoyed by their German league form which has seen them climb from bottom to fourth with seven wins and a draw in their eight Bundesliga games since Andre Schubert took charge in September. “We have to go to our absolute limit and give it everything we have,” said Schubert, whose side sealed a 2-1 win over Hanover on Saturday in his first game as head coach, with a contract until 2017, after two months as caretaker boss.
“We aren’t under any pressure, but we do have a duty to give it our all.” Having drawn 1-1 last time out at home to Juventus, Gladbach want another strong performance.
Schubert has breathed life back into Gladbach with a consistent team selection policy, bringing in talented teenagers Andreas Christensen and Mahmoud Dahoud and tightening the defence.
He has also given Swiss defensive midfielder Graint Xhaka the captaincy and the 23-year-old, who has been linked to a bigmoney move to Liverpool, has revelled in the role. The Foals are nine unbeaten since losing at home to Manchester City at the start of September and had few problems beating mid-table Hanover on Saturday with goals by Traore and Brazilian striker Raffael. Sevilla are 11th in the Spanish league.
They inflicted a first defeat of the season on La Liga giants Real Madrid with a 3-2 home win three weeks ago when exBorussia Dortmund striker Ciro Immobile scored his maiden goal for the club.
But on Saturday, they crashed 2-0 at Real Sociedad, who were playing their first match since David Moyes was sacked after a run of six defeats in nine games. Portugal goalkeeper Beto (knee injury), Gaeel Kakuta (thigh) and defender Daniel CarriÁo (hamstring) will all miss the game with injury. —AFP
LVIV: FC Shakhtar’s players take part in a training session at the Arena Lviv Stadium in Lviv yesterday on the eve before the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid. — AFP