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Two of the new kids on the block in European football during the past decade, Villarreal CF and German champions VfL Wolfsburg, face each other at El Madrigal in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie.
• The sides are meeting for the first time. Villarreal's only previous experience of German opposition came when they beat Hamburger SV 1-0 home and away in a 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup semi-final. Wolfsburg, meanwhile, lost both legs of their only tie against a Spanish side, going down 2-1 away and 3-2 at home to Club Atlético de Madrid in the 1999/00 UEFA Cup third round.
• Villarreal successfully negotiated the last-32 stage of the UEFA Cup twice in successive seasons in 2003/04 and 2004/05 – advancing to the semi-finals and quarter-finals respectively. But they fell at the round of 32 two seasons ago, losing on away goals to eventual winners FC Zenit St. Petersburg.
• Prior to a 1-0 loss to FC Salzburg in their final UEFA Europa League group stage game in December, Villarreal had gone 12 European games unbeaten at El Madrigal. The Salzburg loss was only their second defeat in 20 UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League home fixtures.
• Wolfsburg made it to the UEFA Cup round of 32 last season but lost to Paris Saint-Germain FC, going down 2-0 away and then 3-1 at home. The reigning German champions have yet to win a springtime fixture in UEFA club competition.
• Wolfsburg won one of their three away games in the UEFA Champions League group stage in the autumn, prevailing 3-0 at Beşiktaş JK. They succumbed 2-1 in the other two fixtures at Manchester United FC and PFC CSKA Moskva.
• Both clubs have changed coaches since the end of the group stage.
• Ernesto Valverde, a losing UEFA Cup finalist as both a player and coach with RCD Espanyol (1987/88 and 2006/07), was dismissed at Villarreal at the end of January, with highly rated B-team boss Juan Carlos Garrido replacing him.
• Wolfsburg dismissed their boss Armin Veh a few days earlier, with reserve-team coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner being placed in temporary command while the German champions seek a permanent successor.
• Villarreal's United States-born forward Giuseppe Rossi and Wolfsburg's Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins were team-mates at Newcastle United FC in the 2006/07 season.
• The second leg is in Wolfsburg on 25 February with the winners to face the victors of the tie between FC Rubin Kazan and Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in the round of 16 on 11 and 18 March, playing the second leg at home.
Misses next match if booked: Gonzalo
Players added to squad: Mateo Musacchio, Jefferson Montero
Players removed from squad: Fabricio Fuentes, Edu, Jonathan Pereira, Sebastián Eguren
Misses next match if booked: none
Players added to squad: Thomas Kahlenberg, Réver, Sebastian Schindzielorz,
Players removed from squad: Ricardo Costa, Alexander Esswein, Jonathan Santana
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