Sevilla captain Ivan Rakitic cannot wait for the UEFA Europa League last-16 derby with city rivals Real Betis.
Victory over Maribor on Thursday sealed a 4-3 win on aggregate for Sevilla and Rakitic is relishing the chance to face a familiar foe in the next round.
Sevilla are unbeaten in the last three derby matches between the two and recorded a convincing 4-0 victory when the two sides met in La Liga earlier this season, but this will be the first time they have met on the European stage.
"The derby is the most beautiful thing there is," Rakitic said. "We prepare with all the enthusiasm in the world because we know what it means these games and will go after them.
"Now we have to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead, every game is different."
Goals from Jose Antonio Reyes and Kevin Gamerio sealed their passage on Thursday, with Dare Vrsic netting a late consolation for Maribor.
Rakitic revealed that they were pleased with the way they had handled the threat from their Slovenian opponents.
"In general it has been very good job," he added. "It was important to win at home and take the confidence we needed.
"It was important to win and now we have confidence to win again at home."
Betis coach Gabriel Calderon is also looking forward to the clash and expects his side to perform well against their rivals despite their poor league form.
They currently sit bottom of La Liga, 11 points from safety, but they recorded a 3-1 aggregate win over Rubin Kazan to progress to the last 16 in Europe.
"I am very happy about the European derby," Calderon said.
"It will be an extraordinary party for Seville, but in a knockout game there are no favourites. It's 50-50.
"The team will continue to grow and we can go into the game in good form."
|19||José Antonio Reyes|
|Coach: Unai Emery|
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