UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|Qarabağ FK||Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu - IstanbulThursday 29 October 2020|
18.55CET (20.55 local time) Group I - Matchday 2
Istanbul is the setting as Qarabağ, the champions of Azerbaijan, look to get off the mark in UEFA Europa League Group I against experienced campaigners Villarreal.
• Qarabağ were defeated by a single strike in their Matchday 1 encounter away to Maccabi Tel-Aviv, but there were goals galore in eastern Spain as Villarreal overcame group stage debutants Sivasspor 5-3, two late strikes from substitute Paco Alcácer ultimately deciding a gripping contest in the home side's favour.
• Qarabağ are without a win in four games against Spanish opposition, drawing home (0-0) and away (1-1) against Atlético de Madrid on their UEFA Champions League group stage debut in 2017/18 but losing twice without scoring against eventual winners Sevilla in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage (0-3 h, 0-2 a).
• Villarreal are facing opposition from Azerbaijan for the first time.
• Qarabağ were crowned champions of Azerbaijan for the seventh season running in 2019/20 – and eighth overall – having held an eight-point lead over second-placed Neftçi when the Premyer Liqa was abandoned in the early spring. Their sixth successive European group campaign ended, like all the others, in the autumn when they finished third in UEFA Europa League Group A behind Sevilla and APOEL.
• This season, as in 2019/20, Qarabağ began their European journey in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, but were eliminated two rounds later by Norwegian champions Molde in a penalty shoot-out after a goalless draw in Baku. They made amends by beating Legia Warszawa 3-0 away in the UEFA Europa League play-off to reach the group stage for the sixth time. They have yet to finish in the top two.
• Qarabağ have won none of their last ten home European group games, losing seven, the exceptions a 0-0 stalemate against Atlético in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League and last season's draws against APOEL (2-2) and F91 Dudelange (1-1). Their last home group win was 2-0 against PAOK in Baku on Matchday 3 of the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League.
• Villarreal finished fifth in the 2019/20 Spanish Liga to return to Europe after a season's absence and participate in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the eighth time.
• The Spanish club have yet to finish outside the top two in their seven previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns and have gone through as section winners three times, including the most recent in 2018/19. Then they went unbeaten in collecting ten points to finish ahead of Rapid Wien, Rangers and Spartak Moskva before knocking out Sporting CP and Zenit and eventually crashing out to local rivals Valencia in the last eight (1-3 h, 0-2 a). Their best seasons in the competition were 2010/11 and 2015/16, when they reached the semi-finals.
• Villarreal are on an unbeaten run of 11 UEFA Europa League group stage away matches (W3 D8), the last defeat on their travels at this juncture of the competition a 2-1 reverse at Rapid Wien on Matchday 1 in 2015/16. They drew all three away fixtures in the 2018/19 group stage.
Links and trivia
• Spanish midfielder Jaime Romero joined Qarabağ from Córdoba in 2019 having played for a number of clubs in his homeland, including Granada and Osasuna in the Liga. His one game against Villarreal was a 3-1 away defeat for Osasuna in September 2016.
• Qarabağ's Ghanaian striker Kwabwena Owusu has also played in Spain. Although he joined Liga side Leganés from Toledo in 2017, he never played in the top flight, spending the next four seasons out on loan at lower-league clubs Oviedo, Cartagena, Salamanca and Córdoba.
• Villarreal have played more matches in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, than any other club. This is their 76th encounter – four more than second-placed Salzburg. Their five goals against Sivasspor lifted their total to 129 in the competition – the joint highest alongside Liga rivals Sevilla.
• Villarreal coach Unai Emery has overseen 80 matches in the UEFA Europa League proper – 27 more than any other coach. He led Sevilla to all three of their trophy successes from 2013/14 to 2015/16 and was also a losing finalist with Arsenal in Baku in 2018/19, the Gunners having beaten Qarabağ twice in the group stage of that campaign (3-0 a, 1-0 h).