The Verdiblancos are in the midst of their best season in decades and are on course to secure a return top the Champions League for the first time since 2005.
Real Betis are flying, sitting third in the LaLiga Santander table in addition to making the Copa del Rey semi-finals and the Europa League playoff round. Under Manuel Pellegrini, the iconic green and white side from Seville are winning game after game and doing so in style, having scored 81 goals in 38 matches across all competitions, a rate of 2.1 per game. What’s behind this incredible run?
Manuel Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1
Real Betis’ success starts with the coach. In Manuel Pellegrini, the Verdiblancos have one of the most experienced coaches in LaLiga Santander, with only Alavés’ José Luis Mendilibar having taken charge of more matches in Spain’s top flight. Pellegrini knows the ins and outs of this league and has put together a 4-2-3-1 formation that allows his creative talents to shine while maintaining balance. After previously finishing as a LaLiga Santander runner-up with Villarreal and with Real Madrid, as well as leading Málaga to a historic fourth placed finish, he is now hoping to take Real Betis back to the Champions League for the first time since 2005.
World Cup-winning quality
In Nabil Fekir, Real Betis have a player who has won football’s biggest prize: France’s World Cup win in 2018. Since arriving at the Benito Villamarín in 2019, Fekir has been off the scale with his winning mentality and quality. By combining with the graceful Sergio Canales in the team’s attacking midfield, Fekir – the ‘magician,’ as he’s known around the green and white half of Seville – is helping this team create chance after chance, many of which are ending up in the back of the net.
Juanmi’s best ever season
One of the players finishing off the chances being created by the likes of Fekir and Canales is Juanmi. The 28-year-old is enjoying the best scoring season of his career, having found the back of the net 16 times already across all competitions, including 12 in LaLiga Santander. He is just one goal behind Espanyol’s Raúl de Tomás in the race for the Zarra Trophy, given to the top-scoring Spaniard each season, and while he’ll miss the derby through suspension he’s a huge reason why Betis are where they are right now.
Depth between the sticks
Deciding to play such an attacking brand of football means Betis give up many chances at the other end. This is why having three quality goalkeepers is important, with Pellegrini able to choose between Claudio Bravo, Rui Silva and Joel Robles for each game. Bravo is a veteran of LaLiga Santander and former winner of the Zamora Trophy for the season’s top goalkeeper, while Silva and Robles have each amassed over 70 appearances in Spain’s top flight too. With Real Betis competing on three fronts, having strength in depth at this key position has been crucial this season.
The third-largest crowd in Spain
This is Pellegrini’s second season at Real Betis, but his first with fans allowed in the stands of the Estadio Benito Villamarín. After games were played behind closed doors last season, the Andalusian club’s fans have returned in their numbers this campaign and their average home attendance of 40,000 is the third-most in the league. The passion that oozes down from the stands has been a huge factor in the team’s solid home form.