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OB and Villarreal set for rematch

Villarreal CF stand between Odense BK and a maiden appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage, with the former having happy memories of the last time they met the Danish club.

OB's Chris Sørensen (left) in action against Panathinaikos
OB's Chris Sørensen (left) in action against Panathinaikos ©Getty Images

Odense BK were thoroughly beaten last time they met Villarreal CF in Europe, but Henrik Clausen's side will look to make amends in the UEFA Champions League play-offs.

Previous meetings
• The teams met in the second round of the 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup,  Manuel Pellegrini's Villarreal winning 3-0 in the first leg in Aarhus and then 2-0 at home. Current OB left-back Chris Sørensen was an unused substitute in the first leg but featured in the second fixture, along with Villarreal's Argentinian defender Gonzalo Rodríguez.

• In addition to two defeats by FC Barcelona in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970, OB have met Spanish sides in 11 UEFA games with the record W2 D1 L8 (W1D1 L3 at home).

• Their crowning achievement in those fixtures was a famous defeat of Real Madrid CF in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup third round, when they overturned a 3-2 home reverse with a 2-0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu on 6 December 1994 − a feat still known in Denmark as 'The Miracle in Madrid'.

• Villarreal played an Aalborg BK side featuring OB's Andreas Johansson in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League, winning 6-3 at home and drawing 2-2 in Denmark. Diego López, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Ángel López, Bruno Soriano, Rubén Cani, Marcos Senna and Giuseppe Rossi all played in those fixtures, with Rossi on target in both games.

Match background
• OB have lost just once in their last 14 European home fixtures, going down 2-1 against VfB Stuttgart in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Villarreal had gone four games without a defeat on the road in Europe, winning three of them, before going down 5-1 at FC Porto in last season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

• Villarreal are unbeaten in nine home games at El Madrigal − the last eight of them wins − dating back to December 2009 and FC Salzburg's 1-0 victory in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage.

• OB's 4-3 third qualifying round win at Panathinaikos FC ended a three-game run of away defeats in UEFA competition.

• Villarreal have featured in the UEFA Champions League group stage twice, reaching the semi-finals in 2005/06 and the quarter-finals in 2007/08. Arsenal FC knocked them out on both occasions.

• Villarreal's only previous tilt at UEFA Champions League qualifying ended successfully as they beat Everton FC 2-1 away and at home to reach the group stage in 2005/06.

• Odense are the only side in the League route never to have featured in the group stage. Last season's Danish runners-up appeared in the group stages of the UEFA Cup in 2006/07 and the UEFA Europa League in 2010/11.

• This is the fourth time that OB have played in Europe's top club competition. They were eliminated in the first round by PFC Lokomotiv Sofia in 1978/79 (agg: 2-3), Liverpool FC in 1983/84 (agg: 0-6) and Real Madrid CF in 1990/91 (agg: 1-10).

• Their third qualifying round victory against Panathinaikos FC was their first over two legs in Europe's premier club competition − indeed OB's 4-3 second-leg win was their first victory in eight European Cup outings.

Team ties
• During their time together at Manchester United FC, OB's Eric Djemba-Djemba and Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi featured together in League Cup victories against Crystal Palace FC and Arsenal FC at the end of 2004.

• Villarreal's Copenhagen-born forward Nicki Bille Nielsen scored ten goals in 47 Danish Super League appearances for FC Nordsjælland before moving to Spain.

• The 23-year-old also scored past goalkeeping club-mate Diego Mariño in Denmark's 2-1 Under-21 friendly defeat by Spain in Guadalajara on 8 February. Villarreal's Mario Gaspar was a substitute for Spain.

• On 22 April 2006, OB forward Morten Skoubo featured in the Real Sociedad de Fútbol side that enjoyed a 2-0 Liga win at Villarreal.