Quarter-finalists two seasons ago, Monaco are well placed to qualify for the group stage once again after a 2-1 victory at Villarreal in the opening instalment of their play-off tie.
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After inflicting Villarreal's first defeat by a French club, Monaco will attempt to press home their advantage in the second leg of the teams' UEFA Champions League play-off.
• Monaco prevailed 2-1 at El Madrigal on 17 August, Fabinho putting the visitors in front from the spot. Though Pato headed the equaliser on his Villarreal debut, Leonardo Jardim's men ran out winners thanks to a stunning individual effort from Bernardo Silva.
• Villarreal's record in five encounters with French sides is W2 D2 L1 (W1 D1 L1 at home, W1 D1 away). They lost 2-1 at Troyes in a 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup semi-final decider, but were awarded a 3-0 win – and final place – as their opponents were sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player.
• Monaco's 19 matches against Spanish teams have ended W7 D4 L8 (W5 D3 L1 at home – W2 D1 L7 in Spain).
• The Yellow Submarine ousted Odense 3-1 on aggregate in their only previous UEFA Champions League play-off, in 2011/12.
• Monaco eliminated Fenerbahçe to make it to the play-offs, Valère Germain's second in a 3-1 second-leg victory proving decisive in a 4-3 aggregate success.
Team and coach links
• Monaco's Marcel Tisserand and Villarreal's Cédric Bakambu are international team-mates with DR Congo.
• Sporting director Antonio Cordón left Villarreal for Monaco this summer.
• Villarreal's Alfred N'Diaye (Nancy 2008–11) and Bakambu (Sochaux 2010–14) have played in France.
• Radamel Falcao (Atlético Madrid 2011–13), Ivan Cavaleiro (Deportivo La Coruña 2014/15) and Morgan De Sanctis (Sevilla 2007/08) have Spanish Liga experience.
• Falcao claimed five goals against Villarreal, including four in the first leg, as Porto sank the Yellow Submarine 7-4 on aggregate in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League semi-finals. João Moutinho was then – as now – one of his team-mates, while Mateo Musacchio, Bruno Soriano and Mario Gaspar featured for Villarreal.
• Appointed in June 2014, Leonardo Jardim has guided Monaco to successive third-place finishes in two seasons in France. The Venezuelan-born Portuguese coach led Beira-Mar into Portugal's top division in 2009/10 and impressed with Braga, Olympiacos and Sporting CP before being hired by his current employers.
• Fran Escribá took charge of Villarreal following the departure of Marcelino on 10 August. A youth-team player who never made the grade with Valencia, Escribá began his coaching career in that club's academy in 2002. After serving as understudy to Quique Sánchez Flores at Valencia, Getafe, Benfica and Atlético Madrid, Escribá accepted his first managerial post with Elche in the second tier. He led the Valencian outfit into the Liga in his first term before joining Getafe last summer.