Real Betis, at one stage, looked like making a break for the European places in La Liga this season, but a six-game winless streak has seen them drop into the bottom half of the table.
Five defeats in eight matches is not the form that inspires a push for Europe, and losing to relegation-threatened Las Palmas two weeks ago leaves them needing to avoid a similar embarrassment on Monday when they host Malaga at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Malaga on the up
The Blue and Whites will be on a high when they host the Seville side after their 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad last weekend lift them off the bottom of the table, leaving them with two wins in their last four matches.
Before that, they had lost nine of their first 11 La Liga fixtures of the season, and as they look to have turned a corner, they will fancy themselves against under-pressure Betis.
However, they will have to continue their run without the likes of defensive trio Juankar, Federico Ricca and Miguel Torres, as well as midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic and goalkeeper Cenk Gonen, all struggling with injuries and unlikely to return until next year.
Big names out for Betis
Real Betis are also struggling on the injury front, with Andres Guardado tearing his muscle in last weekend’s defeat to Atletico Madrid, meaning he will be out until January. He joins fellow influential stars Joel Campbell, Jordi Amat and Javi Garcia in the treatment room.
The biggest loss and one that has affected them recently is Antonio Sanabria, who is currently nursing a knee injury. The 21-year-old Paraguayan is the club’s top scorer this season, with seven goals in 12 games in this campaign, already three more than last year and in 10 fewer matches.
For Betis, they need a victory to stop the slump and would be a much-needed boost considering the players they have on the sidelines.
But a Malaga win could put them within a point of safety at the end of this round of fixtures, especially considering 18th-placed Deportivo Alaves travel to Atletico Madrid while Deportivo La Coruna in 17th face league leaders Barcelona. The match will kick off on Monday at 9pm local time/ 8pm in the UK.