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Sevilla turn heads with Mönchengladbach win

"They're great players and when they have room they can hurt you," Gladbach defender Oscar Wendt told UEFA.com after Sevilla made an impressive start.

Sevilla all smiles after a confident matchday one success
Sevilla all smiles after a confident matchday one success ©Getty Images

Sevilla may currently be short of options at the back – injuries having deprived them of defenders Daniel Carriço, Nicolás Pareja and Adil Rami, as well as keeper Beto – but coach Unai Emery has an abundance of talent elsewhere.

Tuesday's 3-0 UEFA Champions League Group D victory over Mönchengladbach showcased the midfielders and forwards jostling for attention in Emery's much-changed squad.

"The settling-in period is a process that takes some players longer than others, but we're going to need them all," said the Basque-born coach after the match. "All the players are fully aware of how competitive we are – how much we want to win and how we want our season to pan out. We need everybody on board in order to compete at a high level in every competition."

With competition for places fierce, everybody is kept on their toes: those in the team under pressure to perform, while those out of favour strain every sinew to catch their coach's eye. That level of pressure has propelled Sevilla to glory in the past two UEFA Europa League campaigns, and stood them in good stead against Mönchengladbach too.

In the 4-2-3-1 formation that has brought so much European joy, Kevin Gameiro led the line with aplomb. Sevilla's French No9 found space in dangerous areas time and again, receiving tangible reward moments into the second half when converting a penalty after Yann Sommer had felled Vitolo. With Fernando Llorente, a UEFA Champions League finalist with Juventus last term, and Ciro Immobile – determined to revive his reputation after a tough year in Dortmund – desperate to dislodge him, Gameiro cannot afford to take his foot off the gas.

Disappointed Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer
Disappointed Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer©AFP/Getty Images

"Sevilla away is certainly not an easy way to start in the Champions League," Gladbach defender Oscar Wendt told UEFA.com. "Gameiro, [José Antonio] Reyes, Vitolo and [Éver] Banega were moving all the time – they have lot of freedom. In the first half we contained them well, but once they got the first goal more space opened up. They're great players and when they have room they can hurt you."

Hurt they did. Reyes, captaining his boyhood club in his first game for them in the UEFA Champions League, was everywhere, prompting, driving his team forward and constantly knocking on the Gladbach door. Vitolo, the scourge of the Foals last season with a double in the teams' UEFA Europa League round of 32 second-leg encounter, was at it again here, his direct and incisive runs into the box earning two penalties in the space of three minutes – Gameiro scoring the aforementioned first and spurning the second.

Nor was Banega keen to take a back seat, constantly looking to give his team-mates a passing option, always there to move the ball intelligently and keep his side on the front foot. He even popped up to score a penalty himself, slotting home coolly after that man Gameiro had been brought down.

Providing the icing on the cake for Emery was substitute Yevhen Konoplyanka. On for fans' favourite Reyes, given a deafening ovation on his withdrawal, the Ukrainian wide-man scored with his first touch, showing belief aplenty to fire a long-range effort that snuck in at the near post. Hard work, confidence and competition: if Sevilla continue to click, Manchester City and Juventus should beware.

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