A Betis-Rayo with an unusual flavor of Champions

The Real Betis, after adding this Thursday against Bayer Leverkusen a draw at Benito Villamarín (1-1) that keeps intact his options to fight for the first place in Group G of the Europa League, receives this Sunday the Vallecano Ray in a clash with an unusual flavor of the Champions League, because whoever wins the game will have options to rise – albeit provisionally, since there are teams with pending games – to one of the top four places in LaLiga in an attractive day in the that six of the first eight are measured against each other, as Atlético (4th) receives Real Sociedad (1st), FC Barcelona (7th) to Real Madrid (2nd) and Real Betis (8th) to Rayo Vallecano (6th ), which has 16 points, one more than the Betics and one less than 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th (Madrid, Sevilla, Atlético and Osasuna).

Rayo has undoubtedly become the revelation team of this start to the season, after finishing 6th last season in the Second Division and achieving promotion in the playoff by eliminating Leganés and Girona. The Vallecanos, led by Andoni Iraola, former Athletic player and former AEK Larnaca and Mirandés coach, have 5 victories, a draw and 3 defeats in the first nine games, so only Real Sociedad, with six, has won more times than them. They are the second highest scoring team, with 15 goals in favor – only Madrid, with 22, surpasses them – and the third with the best balance of goals for / against, since they add +6, the same as FC Barcelona and only less than Madrid (+12) and Seville (+8).

Rayo Vallecano does not occupy Champions League positions at this point in LaLiga since the 1999/00 campaign, with Juande Ramos, when he was leader after the eleventh day with 22 points (7G 1E 3P), in a campaign that finished 9th and classified for the time first to play the UEFA Cup thanks to fair-play.

Real Betis, meanwhile, is not in the Champions League positions after four games since the 20th of the 2012/13 season, with Pepe Mel, when he was 4th with 35 points, 20 behind the leader FC Barcelona (55), 12 from Atlético (47) and 5 from Real Madrid (40). Since the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini, sixth place is the best classification occupied by Real Betis after Matchday 3. With Setién he became fifth a couple of days in 2018/19 and held that position from 31st to 36th in 2017/18, which in the end finished sixth, like last season with the Chilean.

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