Pablo Sarabia insists Sevilla can harness underdog spirit to dump Bayern Munich out of the Champions League.
Sevilla host the German giants in the first leg of their quarter-final in Spain on Tuesday, with midfielder Sarabia calling on the home side to push Bayern all the way.
Bayern are expected to welcome back Arturo Vidal and Juan Bernat for the Sevilla clash, after the pair sat out Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund.
Sarabia maintains Sevilla remain unfazed by Bayern’s potency, saying Vincenzo Montella’s side have the quality to reach the last four.
“You always dream of making it through one more round but we know how difficult this task is,” Sarabia said in a press conference reported on UEFA.com.
“We aren’t favourites and it won’t be easy to beat Bayern. But we have our strengths and qualities and if we make the most of them, well, that’s how we can go through.
“We learned so much about this competition last season. We played a terrific match against Leicester in our stadium but we weren’t capable of taking enough of our chances and putting the tie to bed.
“Over in Leicester, we didn’t know how to produce the performance we needed. We deserved to go through but they did instead and that was like an apprenticeship for us.”
Sevilla managed to hold Barcelona to a 2-2 LaLiga draw in their last outing, but Sarabia insists that will have no bearing on his side’s European adventures.
“Perhaps you could say that Bayern have the same general philosophy as Barça did on Saturday: intense, trying to dominate the match and possession,” said Sarabia.
“But they aren’t the same team, this isn’t the same competition: it’ll be a quite different test.”
Manager Vincenzo Montella believes Sevilla’s busy fixture schedule is something to embrace, not fret over, ahead of facing much-fancied Bayern.
“Obviously, when you are competing at a high level across three competitions, as we are, it saps mental and physical energy; but I really love that this is our situation,” said Montella.
“We aren’t yet quite used to playing ultra-high level matches every three days and we need to be.
“However, the physical stamina of our squad doesn’t worry me in the slightest, and especially not our motivation.”
Spain’s former Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara will be back on familiar turf for Bayern’s trip.
And the 26-year-old has warned his team-mates to expect one of their toughest tests this year.
Alcantara expects the local community to rally round Sevilla, and hopes his Bayern colleagues can cope with the intense occasion.
“When a big Champions League tie comes along everyone ups their game,” Alcantara told Marca.
“Even the kit man shines your boots better and the guy in the local cafe bar makes his best sandwiches – but this is all particularly true of Sevilla.
“On big UEFA nights they are made of something different. They rise to the occasion and they’ve proved they are one of Europe’s great clubs.”
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