Manchester United find themselves up against Spanish opposition for the third time this season as they get ready to take on Real B*tis in the Europa League round of 16.

United lost one group game against Real Sociedad and won the other before dispatching Barcelona in the knockout round playoff. The Red Devils are favourites for the tie though any lingering effects of the 7-0 defeat against Liverpool are yet to be seen on the pitch.

Real B*tis are fifth in La Liga and right in the hunt to finish in the top four. They are the lowest in La Liga of the Spanish teams United have already faced this season.

The first leg is at Old Trafford on Thursday night with referee Daniel Siebert set to officiate. Here is what you need to know.

Born on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall, Siebert is now 38 years old and has been a Bundesliga referee since September 2012. It was 2015 when he became a FIFA referee. He has done 149 Bundesliga games so far, handing out an impressive 569 yellow cards, eight of which became red cards, and eight straight red cards.

He took charge of three games at Euro 2020 and another two at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He sent off Harry Wilson in Wales’ 4-0 loss against Denmark at Euro 2020.

Siebert has a good level of European experience now having refereed 11 Champions League games, 13 Europa League games and various important qualifiers.


Siebert has never refereed a game involving Manchester United, meaning the match at Old Trafford will be something of a career milestone for him. He has refereed some English teams in the past such as two games with Liverpool and one with Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Burnley.

Back in 2021, he refereed a World Cup qualifier between Poland and England which ended 1-1. He gave a yellow card to Harry Maguire in that game which is perhaps the most he has affected United fans in his life so far.

Along with Manchester United, this is the first time Siebert has refereed a Real B*tis game which means he is ticking two new clubs and stadiums off his list. He has got a little more experience with Spanish teams than English ones.

He has done three Villarreal games, two Atletico Madrid games, and one each for Sevilla, Real Madrid, Getafe and Granada. He has only sent off two players in those games and they were both Atletico Madrid players.

One was a second yellow for Felipe against Manchester City in April 2022 and the other was a straight red card for Antoine Griezmann in a 3-2 defeat at home against Liverpool in October 2021.

Perhaps his most contentious recent moment in European competition came when he was in charge of AC Milan’s home group stage game this season against Chelsea. He sent Fikayo Tomori off after 18 minutes for supposedly fouling Mason Mount in the box, awarding a penalty at the same time.

The consensus was that it was a very harsh decision against the English defender and both Real B*tis and Manchester United will not want to fall foul of a similar incident.


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