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Each week on languagecaster’s podcast we feature a main listening report and on this week’s show we spotlight the newly promoted sides in La Liga. You can listen to the report by clicking below and can read the transcript below. Explanations of vocabulary in bold appear at the foot of the post.
Listen here to the main report
As with most of the big leagues in Europe, there are three newly promoted teams in the top division in Spain this season. The three teams are Real Sociedad, who came top of the second division last season, and Hércules and Levante, who finished second and third respectively.
Let’s start with Real Sociedad. The team is based in the Basque town of San Sebastian and have spent most of their history in the top flight, and were champions in 1981 and 1982, but relegated in 2007. Traditionally they only recruited Basque footballers, this policy changed in the late eighties, although they still try to keep a backbone of Basque players. Coached by Uruguayan Martin Lascarte, Real Sociedad will be hoping to stay in La Liga after their two seasons in the second division. They have a tough opener against Villarreal, but playing at home will help them. Big things are expected of teenager, Antoine Griezmann. The French left winger has come through the youth set up to impress in pre-season friendlies with four goals in two games, so keep an eye on him. Predictions? A draw to open their campaign and a mid table finish.
Next, Hércules. Based in Alicante, on the coast in the west of Spain, Hércules have been in the second division for most of their history. Although they have had spells in the top league their highest ever finish was fifth. More normally, they tend to hover around the relegation zone when they make it to La Liga. Before a ball has been kicked this season, the team is involved in a scandal that threatens to upset their early season, with a major shareholder, Enrique Ortiz, and their captain, López, alleged to have bribed teams to lose against their team last season. Predictions? Hércules open with a home game with Athletic Bilbao. Expect a loss and relegation this season.
Lastly, Levante. This club, based in Valencia, has been somewhat of a yo-yo club, regularly being promoted and relegated between the second division and the top flight over the past decade. They were only just promoted for this season on goal difference and it won’t be a surprise if they go straight back down again. Indeed, they lack a proven goal scorer and may struggle to find the net. They have also brought in a raft of new signings, which may mean they struggle to gel. All these facts point to relegation this season, which is what I predict. Their first game is against Sevilla at home, and I expect a loss and a long season for los Granotes – the frogs.
the top flight: the top division, the highest level
be relegated: be sent down a league, drop down a level
backbone: (in this context) the players that make a team stable and strong, the main part, the important players
to keep an eye on: watch carefully (because good things are expected)
spell (of time): a period of time, often used in the phrase a short spell
to hover around: to stay close to one position, to not move far from
alleged (to have done): accused of having done, thought to have done – but not yet proved
a yo-yo club: a club that often gets promoted and then relegated (eg. West Bromich Albion in the Premier League)
a raft of: a large number of, many
to gel: to work together, to fit together, form a team