Villarreal CF have always been a tough proposition at home in UEFA club competition, but must have their wits about them when draw specialists PAOK FC come calling in Group D.
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Villarreal CF have always been a tough proposition at home in UEFA club competition, but must have their wits about them when draw specialists PAOK FC come calling in UEFA Europa League Group D.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Villarreal have yet to lose in four games against Greek opposition with their record reading W3 D1 L0 (W1 D1 L0 at home).
• PAOK's record in eight games against Spanish teams reads W2 D3 L3 (W0 D1 L3 away). They conceded at least four goals in each of those three defeats, with the lone draw a goalless affair at Sevilla FC more than 20 years ago.
• A 1-0 defeat by FC Salzburg in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage remains Villarreal's only reverse in their last 16 continental home fixtures.
• PAOK are unbeaten in eight European games, with six of those fixtures ending in draws, including their four most recent away ties.
• PAOK need three more goals to reach 100 in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League; this will be their 71st game in the two competitions.
• Up until February 2010, Juan Carlos Garrido was the long-serving coach of Villarreal's reserve side. He replaced Ernesto Valverde at the helm of the first team and duly secured qualification for Europe, earning himself a contract that runs until the end of this season.
• Pavlos Dermitzakis left his role as PAOK head coach following a 1-0 loss to Panathinaikos FC on Saturday. His assistant Makis Havos will take charge of the team against Villarreal.
• PAOK forward Dimitris Salpingidis faced Villarreal with Panathinaikos FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16, his side drawing 1-1 in Spain before losing 2-1 in Athens.
• PAOK boast Spanish talent in the form of midfielder Vitolo, who played for CD Tenerife, Real Racing Club and RC Celta de Vigo before moving to Greece, initially with PAOK's neighbours Aris Thessaloniki FC.