Sevilla eye last-16 spot, Gladbach a Europa slot

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 (two points) is the only way third-placed Sevilla (three points) can keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 16.

In their last match, they host Juventus (eight points) on Dec 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.

With Gladbach's Champions League exit already confirmed, a defeat to Sevilla means that the German side will finish bottom of the group, but they want to knock Sevilla from third spot to advance to the Europa League themselves.

A win at bottom side Gladbach (two points) is the only way third-placed Sevilla (three points) can keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 16.

"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 to qualify for the Europa League."

Gladbach are buoyed by their German league form.

It 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. He has a contract until 2017.

"We aren't under any pressure but we 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 Granit Xhaka the captaincy. The 23-year-old, who has been linked to a move to Liverpool, has revelled in the role.

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 former Borussia Dortmund striker Ciro Immobile scored his maiden goal for the club.

But on Saturday, they crashed 0-2 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 Carrico (hamstring) will all miss the game.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'Sevilla eye last-16 spot, Gladbach a Europa slot'. Print Edition | Subscribe