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Liga rivalry takes on new edge

Valencia CF and Club Atlético de Madrid will need no introduction as they prepare for the first leg of their quarter-final meeting, the 41st all-Spanish UEFA club competition fixture.

Liga rivalry takes on new edge
Liga rivalry takes on new edge ©UEFA.com

There is guaranteed to be one Spanish side in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals after Valencia CF and Club Atlético de Madrid were drawn together in the last eight.

Previous meetings
• The clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition, but know each other well from domestic football. They have met 140 times in the Spanish league, with Valencia having the edge: their record is W53 D36 L51.

• They first met on 20 January 1935 at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid with Atlético running out 5-2 winners. Valencia took their revenge in the return at Mestalla with a 2-0 triumph.

• Valencia's biggest victory over Atlético in the Liga came on 4 December 1949, 6-0 at home.

• A Luis Aragonés-led Atlético enjoyed their best ever triumph over Valencia on 10 November 1985, winning 5-0 at home against a side who were relegated that season.

• In their 68 league games against Atlético at Mestalla, Valencia's record reads W37 D15 L16.

• In the Liga this season, the sides drew 2-2 at Mestalla on 20 September before Atlético overwhelmed their guests 4-1 at the Vicente Calderón stadium on 28 February.

• In the clubs' most recent two-legged knockout tie, Valencia prevailed on away goals in the 2007/08 Spanish Cup quarter-finals en route to winning the competition. Valencia won 1-0 at home and lost 3-2 in Madrid.

• In ten Spanish Cup meetings, Atlético still hold the upper hand with seven overall victories to Valencia's three. In addition to those games, Valencia beat Atlético 3-0 in the 1999 final, but Atlético beat Valencia 2-1 in the 1972 final.

Match background
• There have been 40 all-Spanish games in the history of UEFA club competitions, nine involving Valencia and seven featuring Atlético.

• Valencia have fared well against compatriot clubs in European competition, winning all four of their two-legged ties including the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League semi-final against FC Barcelona. Their biggest game of all against a team from Spain in Europe, however, ended in disappointment as they went on to lose to Real Madrid CF 3-0 in the final that year.

• Atlético have played Spanish opposition seven times in European club competition, recording three wins and four losses. Their most famous meeting with a Liga side came in the semi-final of the 1958/59 European Champion Clubs' Cup when they were beaten by city rivals Real Madrid in a play-off following a 2-2 aggregate scoreline.

• Valencia's record in four games at home against Spanish opponents in Europe reads W4 D0 L0. Atlético's record in four matches at Liga sides in UEFA club competition reads W0 D0 L4.

• Valencia are unbeaten in their last 11 home games since a 2-0 UEFA Champions League group-stage loss to Rosenborg BK on 6 November 2007. That run includes all ten of their European games under Unai Emery at Mestalla.

• Atlético have drawn two and won one away from home with Quique Sánchez Flores in charge since losing 4-0 to Chelsea FC under Abel Resino in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage.

• This is Atlético's first quarter-final appearance since they beat AS Roma in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup, en route to a semi-final loss against Parma FC. Valencia last appeared in a quarter-final when they lost to Chelsea FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League. At the time, Quique Flores was their coach.

Team facts
• Atlético's coach since October, Quique Flores spent much of his playing career as a full-back at Mestalla and was in charge at Valencia from 2005-07.

• Central midfielder Rubén Baraja joined Valencia from Atlético in 2000 following the capital club's relegation from the Liga. He helped Valencia reach the UEFA Champions League final in his first season, where they lost on penalties to FC Bayern München.

• Argentinian midfielder Éver Banega spent last season on loan at Atlético from Valencia. He moved to Mestalla from CA Boca Juniors in January 2008.

• Atlético's Portugal midfielder Simão and international team-mate Miguel, the Valencia defender, were both at SL Benfica between 2002 and 2005, winning the Portuguese Cup in 2003/04 and the Liga the following season. Valencia midfielder Manuel Fernandes was also at Benfica for those trophy-winning seasons.

• Valencia goalkeeper César Sánchez and Atlético midfielder José Manuel Jurado were registered at Real Madrid together from 2002-05, though neither saw much in the way of first-team action. Quique Flores was coach of the Madrid youth team in the 2002/03 season.

• Jurado also played with Valencia's Miguel Ángel Moyá at RCD Mallorca in the 2008/09 season.

• Valencia's Serbian striker Nikola Žigić and Atlético's Juan Valera spent time together last season during loan spells in Santander with Real Racing Club.

• Atlético defender Juanito and Valencia midfielder Joaquín were Real Betis Balompié players from 1999-06, winning the 2004/05 Spanish Cup together.

• Atlético forward José Antonio Reyes and Valencia defender Carlos Marchena were team-mates at Sevilla FC during the 1999/00 season, with the former making his first-team debut for the club in that campaign.

• Benfica's 21 goals since the start of the group stage make them the highest-scoring side left in the competition, though Valencia are not far off the pace with 20 goals.

• Valencia have the worst UEFA Europa League disciplinary record of the eight sides left in the competition, with 34 yellow cards and four reds since the start of the group stage. Fulham FC have also had four men sent off, but have had only 16 bookings.

• Statistics suggest that Valencia are at their most dangerous in the opening stages of a half. Nine of their 20 UEFA Europa League goals this season have come in the first 15 minutes of a half – four between the first and 15th minutes, and five between the 46th and 60th.

• With four goals since the start of the UEFA Champions League group stage – two in that competition and two in the UEFA Europa League – Sergio Agüero is Atlético's top scorer in Europe this season.

• Midfielder Juan Mata is the only Valencia player to have featured in all ten of their games since the start of the group stage. He and David Villa have been the club's top scorers in that time with five goals each.

• Four of the sides in the quarter-finals competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage: Benfica, Fulham, Hamburger SV and Valencia. The other four transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage: Atlético, Liverpool FC, R. Standard de Liège and VfL Wolfsburg.

• By a quirk of the draw, all four quarter-final ties feature one side from the UEFA Champions League group stage and one from the UEFA Europa League.

• The tie concludes in Madrid on 8 April. The winners face the victors of the contest between Benfica and Liverpool in the semi-finals on 22 and 29 April, playing the first leg at home. Whoever comes through that meeting will be the nominal home team in the final in Hamburg on 12 May.