Pitchside Europe

European match of the weekend: Hostilities resume in Seville

Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo is challenged by Betis defenders Jose Isodoro and Jose Dorado in January 2012

The 116th Seville derby takes place on Sunday night as Real Betis make the short trip to Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, a match Barcelona right-back Daniel Alves thinks is tougher than the Clasico.

"They may not be as important as a Barca-Real in terms of the quality of players, the spectacle on offer, and the media coverage, but they are passionate games," the Brazilian said. "They are tougher than a Clasico."

Pitchside Europe is not sure it agrees, but it is usually a close affair between the Andalusia rivals — 10 of their last 21 matches in all competitions have ended in draws, with nine of the remaining 11 settled by a single goal.

History favours Sevilla, traditionally the more successful club and with 51 wins to Betis' 36 since their maiden clash 97 years ago, which ended 4-3 in favour of Sevilla.

Despite languishing in the Segunda Division for a couple of seasons between 2009-11, Betis have the recent upper hand though, with Sevilla winless in four (two Betis wins, two draws).

Current form hints at a continuation of that pattern, with Betis lying fourth in La Liga and Sevilla in mid-table.

But the stats point to a Sevilla side who are, in conventional terms, playing the better football. So far this season, Sevilla have made more passes, with a greater completion ratio and considerably more shots on goal in La Liga. They have also conceded fewer goals.

However, Betis have been twice as ruthless in front of goal, taking almost one in five of their chances compared to Sevilla's 1/10.

Sevilla v Real Betis: overall Liga head-to-head and 2012-13 season head-to-head

Betis coach Pepe Mel, who played for the Verdiblancos, expects a highly-charged atmosphere.

"This week I need to prime Pepe Mel the fan rather than Pepe Mel the professional. My players need someone to who is going to add that bit of spice," he said.

"From outside the city, I can understand people who say it is just another three points. Those who live here know that is not true. The joy we took from winning the last derby there (2-1) has lasted until today."

These matches are not always a joy though — in a 2007 clash, then-Sevilla coach Juande Ramos was struck by a bottle thrown from the crowd, knocked unconscious and the match abandoned.

Live minute-by-minute commentaries:

Saturday November 17

Juventus v Lazio - 17:00

Barcelona v Real Zaragoza - 19:00

Napoli v AC Milan - 19:45

Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao - 21:00

Sunday November 18

Internazionale v Cagliari - 14:00

Granada v Atletico Madrid - 18:45