Julen Lopetegui’s arrival at Sevilla ahead of the 2019-20 season provided a welcome opportunity for both Sevilla and Lopetegui to re-establish themselves within Europe’s elite. Lopetegui having almost a full season’s break following embarrassing dismissals at Spain and Real Madrid had a point to prove against many doubters.
Two of the Europa League’s strongest remaining sides met as Inter Milan took on Bayer Leverkusen in one of the first quarter-finals on Monday evening. Leverkusen dispatched Rangers comfortably over two legs, whilst Inter beat Getafe in a one-off tie. An intriguing counter lay in waiting.
Rangers secured a clash with Russian side Ufa for a Europa League group stage place after their 0-0 draw against Maribor saw them win 3-1 on aggregate. Steven Gerrard’s side faced an even sterner test in Slovenia than they did at Ibrox last week, but a strong defensive display saw them resist the hosts’ much improved attacking threat.
Steven Gerrard made his managerial debut as his Rangers side took on FK Shkupi in their first Europa League qualifier. Under the expectant eyes of the Rangers fans, with not an empty seat in sight, his team secured a 2-0 win to take to Macedonia, with encouraging signs – albeit fledgling – of the ‘relentless’, ‘full-throttle’ style that has been much hyped since his appointment.
Atletico Madrid triumphed in a European final for the first time since 2012 by beating Marseille 3-0 in Lyon. The match was characterised by Atleti excelling in all defensive phases and turning regains into swift counter attacks.
For the second edition of the SV Observatory, we profile the two biggest matches in Turkey over the weekend. League leaders Galatasarary visited their eternal rivals Fenerbahce over on the Asian side of Istanbul, sitting in fourth pace prior to kickoff. Elsewhere in the city, newcomers to Turkish success Istanbul Basaksehir hosted Besiktas, where both sides hoped to close the gap to one point on Galatasaray.
We introduce a new series profiling matches in countries and leagues that are not frequently discussed on Spielverlagerung.
Infinitely-funded Manchester United faced Ajax – a side with an average age of under 23 – in the Europa League final. What followed was a typical Mourinho game in which he effectively shut-down the most threatening qualities of the opposition’s attack, while using a low-risk approach with the ball.
In the midst of the busy season, there are several good matches that initially pass under the radar due to the sheer number of fixtures. In this series, our authors analyse some of their favourite games from the 2015/2016 season.
The final day of the 2014-15 season saw Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side get thrashed 6-1 by a mediocre Stoke team. After challenging for the title in the previous season, the transfer of Luis Suarez and poor health of Daniel Sturridge created big issues and performance dropped off a cliff. Whilst Rodgers was previously able to rely on his talented personnel, he struggled to implement a consistent strategy from this point onwards. He was granted the start of the 2015-16 season to rectify the issues, but was unable to do so. He was sacked after a 1-1 draw with Everton in October. A few days later, Jurgen Klopp was hired.