MADRID, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Sevilla and Valencia will go head to head on Thursday night in an all-Spanish semi-final in the Europa League.
The game sees former Valencia coach Unai Emery have the chance to take a home advantage for the return leg against his former club next week.
Sevilla have been in excellent form in recent weeks, climbing up to fifth place in the BBVA Primera Liga while at the same time progressing in Europe, something that is not easy given the toll that playing on Thursday and Sunday takes on players.
Even though Sevilla's weekend match in the BBVA Primera Liga sees them travel to face Athletic Club Bilbao in a game which could determine whether or not they are able to overtake the Basque side in fourth place, Emery is putting out his strongest side against Valencia and will repeat the starting 11 which so convincingly overcame a 1-1 first leg defeat away to Porto in the quarter-finals.
That means Carlos Bacca will lead the attack, backed up by the talented Ivan Rakitic, while Kevin Gameiro awaits his opportunity on the bench.
Valencia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has more problems with his starting 11, given the injury worries in central defense.
Victor Ruiz, Ricardo Costa and Phillipe Senderos are also struggling with physical problems and although Senderos could make the subs' bench, Pizzi won't risk him and will probably opt to play defensive midfielder, Javi Fuego alongside Jeremy Matthieu.
Despite a magnificent fightback from a 3-0 defeat in Basile in the first leg of the quarter-final, it has been a disappointing season overall for Valencia.
The team is currently drifting in mid-table in La Liga and this is their only chance of achieving anything this season. The most positive aspect of the season for the club is the emergence of youngsters Paco Alcazar, Juan Bernat and Fede Cartabia, all of whom will start on Thursday night.