The Seville derby, also known as El Gran Derbi, is one the most highly anticipated fixtures in Spanish football and the first one of the 2018/19 season takes place this Sunday evening. Sevilla will visit Real Betis after failing to win either of last year’s clashes, losing 5-3 to the Béticos at home then drawing 2-2 away, in the process finishing behind their rivals in the league table for the first time since 2012/13.
This will be the first derby for new Sevilla boss Pablo Machín, who failed to register a win against Betis in four attempts as coach of former team Girona but who has started his debut season with Sevilla well in both Europe and domestically. Betis coach Quique Setién, meanwhile, will be trying to dream up ways to put the ball in the net following his side’s scoreless start to the season, with a 3-0 loss to Levante followed by a 0-0 stalemate away at Alavés.
Both coaches, though, will know that form counts for nothing in a match as intense as this one, with the derby so often coming down to the emotions and to just a few chances. With a packed stadium guaranteed, this promises to be a special evening of football.
Before that, Matchday 3 gets underway on Friday evening with three captivating fixtures. First off, Getafe host newly promoted side Real Valladolid before Villarreal meet Girona and Eibar welcome Real Sociedad to Ipurua for a Basque Country derby. Since their promotion to LaLiga in 2014, Eibar have won three and drawn one at home against their neighbours from San Sebastián, so this will be an incredibly tough test for La Real.
Celta Vigo’s home match against Atlético Madrid kicks off Saturday’s action, with both teams entering coming into the weekend tied on four points. Los Rojiblancos have won each of their past six league games against the Galician outfit, so Diego Simeone has reason to feel confident as his team travel north to Balaidos.
Back in the capital Real Madrid host Leganés in one of the more under-the-radar but intriguing derbies. While the side from the south of the city have lost all of their LaLiga duels with Real Madrid, they did manage to knock Los Blancos out of last season’s Copa Del Rey at the Bernabéu, so this is a fixture with some spicy recent history.
Sunday begins with yet another derby, this time on the east coast as Levante host city rivals Valencia. With both teams coming off defeats, there won’t be any holding back as Valencia seek their first win at the Ciutat de Valencia since 2011.
Alavés play Espanyol at Mendizorroza later on Sunday afternoon, a fixture they won with a first-minute goal last year, before LaLiga Santander newcomers Huesca travel to the Camp Nou in the league for the first time in their history. They’ve visited Barcelona once before in the Copa Del Rey, losing 8-1 in 2014, so they’ll be optimistic of securing a better outcome this time around.
And then, to wrap it all off… the Sunday night blockbuster in Seville!