NK Dinamo Zagreb return to the UEFA Europa League for a fourth successive group stage campaign, starting Group D with a game against another side who were in the mix last season, Villarreal CF.
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NK Dinamo Zagreb return to the UEFA Europa League for a fourth successive group stage campaign, starting their Group D tilt with a game against another side who were in the mix last season, Villarreal CF.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition, while this will be Villarreal's first match against Croatian opponents.
• Dinamo's four games with Club Atlético de Madrid represent the entirety of their experience of Spanish opposition, with their record reading W0 D1 L3 (W0 D1 L1 at home).
• Dinamo are competing in their fourth successive group stage, having missed out on this phase only twice since the introduction of the format in 2004/05.
• They have lost their last four group stage home games since a 3-2 victory against NEC Nijmegen in the 2008/09 edition. Their record in nine group phase home fixtures reads W2 D2 L5.
• Villarreal also competed in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, losing out to VfL Wolfsburg in the round of 32. Their record in away games in the group stages of UEFA's top competitions reads W4 D7 L3.
• Dinamo are coached by Bosnian-born Vahid Halilhodžić, once a striker for Yugoslavia. Having shone at FK Velež, he spent the latter part of his playing career in France with FC Nantes – winning the 1982/83 Ligue 1 title – and Paris Saint-Germain FC. He would coach the latter to French Cup success as a coach in 2004. The much-travelled coach took the helm in Zagreb in August.
• Halilhodžić's only games against Spanish sides as a coach were a pair of 1-1 group draws against RC Deportivo La Coruña in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League while he was in charge of Lille.
• Up until February 2010, Juan Carlos Garrido was coach of Villarreal's reserve team. He replaced Ernesto Valverde as boss and duly secured qualification for Europe.