UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|FC Salzburg||Stadion Salzburg - SalzburgThursday 18 February 2021|
21.00CET (21.00 local time) Round of 32, First leg
The two clubs who have played the most games in the UEFA Europa League go head to head in the round of 32 as Salzburg take on Villarreal.
• The Austrian club finished third in their UEFA Champions League group during the autumn, behind holders Bayern München and an Atlético de Madrid side that clinched qualification at the expense of Jesse Marsch's team with a 2-0 win at the Stadion Salzburg on Matchday 6. Villarreal, meanwhile, cruised to first place in UEFA Europa League Group I ahead of Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Sivasspor and Qarabağ.
• Honours are even in the clubs' previous meetings with each having won two of the four matches and scored five goals.
• Salzburg got the better of Villarreal in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage, beating them home (2-0) and away (1-0) as they topped the section with maximum points, but it was the Spanish side who prevailed when the teams re-encountered each other in the 2014/15 round of 32, winning 2-1 at home and 3-1 away.
• Having lost twice to Atlético in this season's UEFA Champions League – they also went down 3-2 in Madrid – Salzburg's record against Spanish clubs is now W4 D2 L10. Three of those four victories have come at home, the most recent against Real Sociedad in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32; that 2-1 win sealed a 4-3 aggregate success in a campaign in which Salzburg progressed all the way through to the semi-finals.
• Villarreal's other four games against Austrian teams have also come in the UEFA Europa League – all against Rapid Wien – with two home wins plus a draw and defeat in Austria. The most recent encounters came in the 2018/19 group stage, Villarreal winning 5-0 at home and drawing 0-0 in Vienna a fortnight later. The Spanish club's record in Austria is W1 D1 L2.
• Salzburg were crowned champions of Austria for the seventh successive year in 2019/20, a season in which they also competed in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in 25 years, finishing third in their section behind Liverpool and Napoli.
• This season Salzburg returned to Europe's flagship club competition, ending a run of 13 successive eliminations in UEFA Champions League qualifying since their first group stage appearance in 1994/95 by overcoming Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the play-offs (2-1 a, 3-1 h). Marsch's men took four points off Lokomotiv Moskva (2-2 h, 3-1 a) but lost all four games to Atlético and Bayern (2-6 h, 1-3 a), finishing third once again.
• The Austrian club have therefore returned to the UEFA Europa League, where they are making a joint-record tenth appearance in the competition proper. This is their eighth participation in the round of 32, the previous seven having produced three qualifications and four eliminations. Defeated by Standard Liège in 2009/10 (2-3 a, 0-0 h), Metalist Kharkiv in 2011/12 (0-4 h, 1-4 a), Villarreal in 2014/15 and Eintracht Frankfurt last season (1-4 a, 2-2 h), they overcame Ajax in 2013/14 (3-0 a, 3-1 h), Real Sociedad in 2017/18 and Club Brugge in 2018/19 (1-2 a, 4-0 h).
• Salzburg's home record in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase is W6 D3 L3, with no defeats in the last seven such encounters (W5 D2) since that 1-3 defeat by Villarreal six years ago. In European competition overall, however, they have won just one of their last seven home fixtures, losing four.
• 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 a record-equalling eighth time.
• The Spanish club, who have reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals twice (in 2010/11 and 2015/16), have yet to finish outside the top two in their eight group campaigns and have now gone through as section winners four times. Unai Emery’s side won Group I at a canter this term, scoring 12 goals in winning their first three matches before sealing first place with a 1-0 win at Sivasspor on Matchday 5.
• Villarreal have won four of their previous seven round of 32 ties. The victories came against Napoli in 2010/11 (0-0 a, 2-1 h) and 2015/16 (1-0 h, 1-1 a), Salzburg in 2014/15 and Sporting CP in 2018/19 (1-0 a, 1-1 h); the defeats were by Wolfsburg in 2009/10 (2-2 h, 1-4 a), Roma in 2016/17 (0-4 h, 1-0 a) and Lyon in 2017/18 (1-3 a, 0-1 h). Their away record at this stage is W3 D2 L2.
• Villarreal are unbeaten in eight UEFA Europa League matches outside Spain (W4 D4), this season's away fixtures bringing wins in Turkey against Qarabağ (3-1) and Sivasspor and a 1-1 draw in Israel against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Villarreal's last defeats in this competition were against local rivals Valencia – 1-3 at home and 0-2 away in the 2018/19 quarter-final – and they are now undefeated by non-Spanish opposition in 16 European matches (W10 D6).
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Nico Mantl (Unterhaching), Bernardo (Brighton, loan), Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia)
Out: Dominik Szoboszlai (Leipzig), Masaya Okugawa (Bielefeld, loan), Jérôme Onguéné (Genoa, loan), Majeed Ashimeru (Anderlecht, loan)
In: Étienne Capoue (Watford), Hassan Haissem, Andrei Rațiu
Out: Soufiane Chakla (Getafe, loan), Vicente Iborra, Takefusa Kubo (end of loan)
Links and trivia
• Salzburg's tenth participation in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, is a competition record that they share with Ajax.
• Salzburg's long-serving skipper Andreas Ulmer played in all four of his club's previous matches against Villarreal.
• Salzburg's Maximilian Wöber spent the second half of 2018/19 on loan at Sevilla, playing 90 minutes in a 3-0 defeat away to Villarreal.
• Salzburg's Bernardo, who joined in January on loan from Brighton, made his Premier League debut for the English club on 11 August 2018 in a 2-0 defeat away to a Watford side that included Villarreal's new signing Étienne Capoue.
• Villarreal have played more matches in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, than any other club. Including their cancelled Matchday 6 encounter at home to Qarabağ, which was officially awarded as a 3-0 victory, this is their 81st encounter – eight more than second-placed Salzburg.
• The 17 goals credited to Villarreal this season have lifted their all-time total in the competition to a record 141, 12 more than Liga rivals Sevilla. They also now hold the record for most UEFA Europa League wins (43), one more than Sevilla and four more than third-placed Salzburg.
• Villarreal coach Emery has overseen 84 matches in the UEFA Europa League proper – 26 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 2018/19.