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Villarreal to test AaB mettle

Villarreal CF will take a significant step towards the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League if they can maintain their impressive home form in the competition against an Aalborg BK side still seeking their first goal.

Villarreal hope to keep their unbeaten home record intact against AaB
Villarreal hope to keep their unbeaten home record intact against AaB ©Getty Images

Villarreal will take a significant step towards the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League if they can secure a second straight home victory against Aalborg BK.

• Manuel Pellegrini's men go into the fixture level with Manchester United FC at the top of Group E having taken four points from their opening two outings. Another win would leave them well placed to progress in the competition, but they can expect determined resistance from an AaB side bottom of the section and seeking to avoid a second successive loss that would put a serious dent in their prospects.

• Villarreal were 1-0 winners against Celtic FC last time out, Marcos Senna's 67th-minute free-kick securing the points and maintaining the Spanish side's impressive start after a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

• AaB started the group stage positively by holding Celtic to a goalless draw on Matchday 1 but they were well beaten at home by Manchester United on 30 September, succumbing 3-0 to goals from Wayne Rooney (22) and Dimitar Berbatov (55, 79).

• The Danish champions may take encouragement from the fact they are unbeaten in three away outings in Europe this term, having defeated FK Modriča (2-1) and FBK Kaunas (2-0) in the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds before drawing at Celtic Park.

• That said, Villarreal have never lost a UEFA Champions League home game. Including the 2005/06 third qualifying round they have collected four wins and four draws at El Madrigal in the competition.

• The Yellow Submarine are undefeated in five home games in Europe, their last defeat a 2-1 reverse against NK Maribor in the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

• Villarreal midfielder Santi Cazorla was among the scorers when the club took on Danish opponents for the first time.

• Facing Odense BK in the UEFA Intertoto Cup second round in July 2004, Cazorla struck the second goal in a 3-0 first-leg victory for Villarreal in Denmark and Pellegrini's men completed the job with a 2-0 home win.

• AaB suffered a 5-0 defeat on their only previous visit to Spain, surrendering a 1-0 first-leg lead as they lost heavily against RC Deportivo La Coruña in the first round of the UEFA Cup in 1993/94.

• The Danish team also went down to Spanish Liga opponents in last season's UEFA Cup group stage, a 2-1 home defeat by Getafe CF spelling their elimination from the competition with a game to spare.

• AaB coach Bruce Rioch had some memorable encounters with Spanish opposition in his playing days with English club Derby County FC.

• He scored in both legs of Derby's 1974/75 UEFA Cup second-round tie with Club Atlético de Madrid, equalising a Luis Aragonés effort to earn Derby a 2-2 draw in England on 23 October before finding the net in another 2-2 draw in the Spanish capital. Rioch then converted a spot-kick to help Derby prevail 7-6 on penalties.

• The next season Rioch played against Real Madrid CF in the European Champion Clubs' Cup second round, featuring in Derby's memorable 4-1 first-leg success on 22 October 1975. However, he missed the return match where Madrid fought back to win 5-1 after extra time.

• Rioch's only meeting with a Spanish side as a coach came with former club Odense in the UEFA Cup group stage in 2006/07, when his team suffered a 3-1 reverse against CA Osasuna in Pamplona that sealed their exit from the competition.

• Villarreal defender Ángel López featured for Spain in a 2-1 victory against Denmark in a UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifier in March 2007.

• As a teenager, AaB forward Marek Saganowski appeared as a substitute for former club Feyenoord in both legs of a 3-1 aggregate victory against Spanish side RCD Espanyol in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup second round.

• Villarreal's Edmílson was a UEFA Champions League winner with FC Barcelona in 2005/06.

• Manchester United will play Celtic in the other Group E fixture on Matchday 3.