The consistency and classification of the Seville for the round of 16 of the Champions was an important touchstone for him soccer Spanish. With the Real Madrid turned into a free verse, the Athletic pending of his emotional state and the sorrowful FC Barcelona, Lopetegui's set was considered as the most genuine bet of The league in continental club competition. A value shared with him Villarreal, although in a higher step, since the Seville team holds the second place in the domestic championship and, even if it is only based on numbers, it is one of the teams that most reason each point it wins. However, the whole approach remained on paper after the defeat against Salzburg in an empty Red Bull Arena due to the restrictions of the pandemic in Austria who silently celebrated the headlining pass of this country.
The challenge was greater in a context of continuous doubt of Spanish football outside its borders, which had found in the Seville group a perfect setting for its claim, with a representative of the French Ligue 1, the current champion Lille, a component of the German Bundesliga, the Wolfsburg, who achieved the last German ticket for the Champions League; and a modern test tube kit, the Salzburg, Red Bull franchise, conceived for a tyrannical power in Austria and wanting to thrive on the Old Continent. A group in which the Seville team could compete as equals with anyone. Or, what's more, he started with the favorite band to qualify. However, Sevilla has only achieved in the group G three draws: one against Salzburg in the first leg at the Pizjuán (1-1), and two away from Lille and Wolfsburg. Against the German team they also achieved the only 2-0 win on matchday five.
The LaLiga referendum has been shipwrecked with the Sevilla option, which, despite all the accumulated errors, was able to reach life to the final day. What's more, he was up to himself, and there was even a chance of being group champion if Wolfsburg beat Lille and the Nervionians were right against Salzburg. But none of the two options came together and Sevilla ended up relegated to their fetish competition, the Europa League that he has conquered up to six times. However, and although this tournament shows its good level, it is not a grateful return, because at Sánchez Pizjuán they have been courses yearning for a step forward in the Champions League and even more so this season, in which they present the second highest salary limit in LaLiga , with 200 million euros, only surpassed by the stratospheric 739 million of Real Madrid.
Lopetegui's pragmatism is not enough
To this must be added that since March 2019, the Seville roadmap is once again marked by Monchi, regarded as the Carlos Kleiber of Spanish firms, the best conductor capable of recognizing talents just by looking at his boots. And above all, a profound Sevilla player, a condition that he exerts at all times, as after the elimination against Salzburg, “a night of licking one's wounds, admitting mistakes, being strong, getting up and thinking that in a few hours we have another very important game ", referring to the next league duel against him Athletic (Saturday, 9:00 p.m. in San Mamés).
The austere and control style that works so well in LaLiga has not been enough for Sevilla in the group stage
The style of Lopetegui's painting is perfectly recognizable and it is precisely what is allowing him to have such good results in national territory. However, the austerity and pragmatism of a team that wins in LaLiga even lackluster has not served it in Europe, where the reverse is left for the moments when you really have to preserve the result. With exceptions, the Spanish competition has reduced the role with the ball and the matches are for the team that best dominates the tempo and there Seville records their work, with a high level of concentration.
However, when pushed to resolve with acts of explosiveness it just turns off by the way. The perfect diesel machinery does not carburize. In this sense, there is a complete dissonance between a Lopetegui who tends to overgesticulate and what he asks of his players on the field. It is as if he wanted to order glass towers with blows. Although the years in the trade allow him to turn the screams into understandable instructions. Sometimes he loses his papers as he runs out of resources. In the final against Salzburg, the Basque coach could not count on Jesus Navas and Acuna, its main sides and two fundamental pieces in a scheme that displays its power through the wings. Instead, Montiel, who had one of his worst games as a Sevilla player, and Augustinsson, who charged with a yellow from minute 17 for stopping the whirlwind Karim Adeyemi, who at 19 was the executor of Sevilla in this Champions League.
Adeyemi, key in Salzburg
Adeyemi, born in Munich in 2002 to a Nigerian father and Romanian mother, is one of the most desired young promises in European football. A footballer who turned the foundations of Seville in the two games, which ended up being decisive. In the first leg of Sánchez Pizjuán he drove the Seville team crazy forcing three penalties that even so they were not enough to give victory to Salzburg, who missed two maximum penalties. For its part, the Spanish team hit the one they had, through Rakitic, getting a reduced 1-1 in a meeting that went crazy from eleven meters.
In the defeat of the second jump, which has condemned Sevilla, Adeyemi was decisive again. He stripped his marks at all times and generated the only goal of the match with an assist that surpassed any of those attempted by his 11 opponents. Noah Okafor just had to focus to send the ball into the back of Bono's net in a safe and easy shot.
As if that were not enough, in the 64th minute it came out like an exhalation in a counter that blurred the high pressure of Sevilla after the goal. Joan Jordán could only stop him with a foul and saw the second yellow card that he sent to the booth and ended practically with any hope for Sevilla. Rightly so, the Salzburg forward's press conference after sealing the qualification for the round of 16. "This is indescribable, we are going to celebrate it until Saturday (when they have their next league game)," he said, revealing that the Matthias jaissle, the youngest coach in the competition at just 33 years old, was "wait, because we knew that a 0-0 was also good for us."
Salzburg have already assumed that they will see their wonder boy leave soon. One of those who would have shown interest in Adeyemi is Barça, in a vain attempt to compete with clubs with much greater solvency such as Dortmund, which could end up being their fate. This movement would also have a strong emotional component, since it would turn the already absolute international with Alemana into a stiletto against him. Bayern Munich, the team from his hometown, and who discarded him after going through their lower categories.
“It was my favorite team. My idol was always Arjen Robben. I have always paid attention to his way of facing, "Adeyemi said in statements in 2020 in which he told how in 2010 he joined the quarry of the Bavarian club, which gave up on him two years later. “There you have to follow an iron plan. If you, as a player, do not follow him, you will receive very little support. They accused me of not having enough discipline, but I don't think it was a decisive factor, I simply was not able to fit in, ”explained the Sevilla executor, a differential footballer who pulled out his fang at the decisive moment, just after a Munir's shot, substitute in the starting eleven for Rafa Mir, hit the wood.
A few centimeters separated Lopetegui from confirming his good intention by having the Moroccan attacker start to the detriment of the Cartagena tower. Although the truth is that this Seville has been left without a born finisher after the injury of En-Nesyri, who, when he recovers, will go with Morocco to the Africa Cup, scheduled for January. This situation will cause Sevilla to go to the winter market in search of a forward, where they will also search for a central defender.
Sevilla had contemplated in their accounts for this year qualifying, at least, for the eighth
At least this was Monchi's initial plan until a few weeks ago. However, the injury of midfielder Erik Lamela, who intervened in Madrid a few days ago, could have reshaped Sevilla's roadmap, although the sports director assures that it will not occur. "a radical change" and that Sevilla will be "as coherent as possible, assessing the sporting and economic situation."
Precisely, the finances of the club would have taken an important leap forward with the qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League. In this sense, José Castro, president of the entity, put the bandage before the injury in the previous to the final against Salzburg, ensuring that "economically we do not depend on the result", because the club "is clearly in a good time under the circumstances and we are the second team in LaLiga with the highest salary limit. Money is always good, but it is not a drama either. "
Those of Nervión budgeted in their accounts for this year enter 83.3 million for their participation in the Champions League and they were insured to receive about 40 just for participating: slightly more than 15 would derive from playing the group stage and over 25 for the coefficient UEFA, where Sevilla currently holds the eleventh position among the teams participating in the tournament. To this should be added the amounts accumulated by the three draws and the victory against Wolfsburg, which would raise the account to 46 million, half of what was initially contemplated.
And it is that although it was not expressed implicitly, the General Meeting of Shareholders of Sevilla, as happened in the previous year, approved a calculation assuming that the Seville team will be, at least, among the 16 best in the competition. So despite the "good health" that the Andalusian club's board boasts, this early elimination represents a blow to the team's economic planning, and consequently to LaLiga, which is played in Villarreal's game against him. Atalanta will be the second competition that has placed the most representatives in the round of 16, where Real Madrid and Atlético feature four English teams (Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea); along with several pairs: the French (PSG and Lille); the portugueseSporting and Benfica); an Italian representative, Inter, in the absence of knowing what is happening in Bergamo; the aforementioned Austrian Salzburg and the Dutch Ajax.