SEVILLE (Reuters) - Sevilla’s 2-2 draw at rivals Real Betis on Saturday ensured they will compete for European football for a sixth consecutive season but it means they will face an unforgiving schedule at the start of next campaign.
Joaquin Caparros’s side clinched seventh spot in the Liga standings which puts them in the play-offs for next season’s Europa League, where they will need to win three two-legged ties in order to advance to the group stages.
If they get to the final round of the play-offs, they will play a total of 11 matches between July 26 and Sept. 2: six Europa League play-off games, three Liga fixtures and the two-legged Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona.
Sevilla will have a limited squad for the first round of the play-offs as Denmark international Simon Kjaer, France’s Wissam Ben Yedder and Argentine pair Ever Banega and Gabriel Mercado are all set to be given extended breaks after the World Cup.
If Sevilla win the tie they will play the second round on Aug. 9 and Aug. 16 with the final round coming on Aug. 23 and Aug. 30.
With the Liga campaign starting on Aug. 18, their packed programme also creates a scheduling nightmare for the national football federation (RFEF), which is yet to set a date for the Spanish Super Cup games against double winners Barca.
The Super Cup usually takes place the week before the league season starts, when Sevilla will be involved in the second round of the Europa League play-offs if they win their first round tie.
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Andrew Downie/Gene Cherry