After 42 rounds and another 3 rounds of playoffs, this year’s Serie B season is over and the three teams that have qualified for next season’s Serie A are SPAL, Hellas Verona and Benevento. The first two qualified directly whereas Benevento won an exciting playoff against last season’s Serie A side Carpi. It will be the first Serie A season for Benevento who recently was promoted to Serie B.
Here is a closer look at the newly promoted teams and what we can expect from them next season.
The abbreviation stands for Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor and the team comes Ferrara, a city with approximately 220,000 inhabitants, located just over 100 km southwest of Venice. The team’s great time was during the 1950s and 60’s when Spal made 13 straight seasons in Serie A, with a fifth place as best ranking. Spal only made a one-year visit to Series B during that time and remained in top division until 1968.
The 70’s are spent in Series B, but it will be even gloomy in the future. During the 80’s, they went down to Serie C and as absolute bottoms; they spent a few seasons at the Amateur D level in the following decades.
The club went bankrupt both in 2005 and 2012. At the same time, things happened in the neighbouring town of Masi San Giacomo. Little AC Giacomense made a great journey through the lower and become the big brother while bankrupt Real Spal, as the club was named in 2012-13, was in Serie D. In the summer of 2013, both sides agreed to let Real Spal take Giacomense’s place in C2, and the club was renamed there under the name Spal 2013.
Ever since this, the team has made a great journey back to the top flight and thanks to great goalkeeping from Alex Meret and goals from old Sergio Floccari they managed win Serie B and finally make their return to Serie A, almost 50 years since the last time.
If Spal had a gloomy modern history, Hellas Veronas periodically has been significantly lighter. As late as 1985, they won the club’s only scudetto, led by the Danish Preben Elkjaer. The 90’s became harder and Hellas commuted regularly between first and second league.
There was nothing against how it evolved after the turn of the millennium. The season 01-02 left Hellas Verona out of Serie A and they even spend four years in Series C1 between 2007 and 2011. The 13-14 season they were finally back in the top division and placed themselves in the middle of the table for the first two seasons.
The third year would not be as joyful. Injuries to the strikers Luca Toni and Gianpaolo Pazzini the team made it almost half a year before the first win was collected in the season 15/16 and the bottom of the table position was inevitable.
Hellas Verona began in the autumn of Serie B in a convincing manner and it appeared to be a comfortable journey towards direct promotion. But something happened towards the end of 2016 and a long bad streak was started. In 14 matches between November and February, Hellas only won on three occasions, and was distanced by both Spal and Frosinone.
The turn, in a literal sense, came home in a regional exchange against Vicenza on May 1st. In the 95th minute of the game, Rômulo scored on a volley and gave the victory to the yellow-blue team. Verona did after that match not lose and held off Frosionone for the 2nd place. Rômulo and Pazzini are still both at the club since the last Serie A adventure and will be very important to the team this season.
Founded in 1929, the club with a witch flying on a shaft in their badge Benevento will now do their first year in Serie A. The municipality has only got around 60,000 inhabitants, but the stadium Stadio Ciro Vigorito takes 25,000 spectators.
The main part of the club’s history has been spent in the lower divisions. The Series B debut did not come until this season. The coach Marco Baroni has, among other things, shot a scudetto-winning goal for Napoli in the season 1989/90, but his coach career has not reached quite the same heights. This fall he took over Benevento and has now already achieved legendary status in the city of Campagnia. The perhaps most interesting player he has in his squad is the Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno.
Out of the three newcomers, Benevento will most likely struggle to stay up more than one year. Hellas Verona looks better fit to compete with the other big boys in Il Calcio, whereas Spal are harder to predict. Find Serie A season betting odds here (Insert bookmaker) and make your bets now! Good luck!