Bayer 04 Leverkusen take on Villarreal CF in the round of 16 hoping for another famous two-legged success against Spanish opposition to follow a landmark 1988 result.
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Bayer 04 Leverkusen take on Villarreal CF in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 hoping for another famous two-legged success against Spanish opposition to follow a landmark 1988 result.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Leverkusen's 21 UEFA games against Spanish opponents have ended W6 D5 L10 (W4 D3 L3 at home). The Werkself won their only major European trophy to date by beating RCD Espanyol on penalties in the two-legged 1988 UEFA Cup final, but lost the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League showpiece 2-1 against another Spanish side, Real Madrid CF, in Glasgow.
• Villarreal's four previous games against German sides have ended W2 D1 L1 (W1 D0 L1 in Germany). VfL Wolfsburg eliminated them from last season's UEFA Europa League in the round of 32.
• Leverkusen are unbeaten in ten UEFA Europa League games this season (all of their European fixtures under Jupp Heynckes) and 11 in total since a 4-1 home defeat by FC Zenit St Petersburg in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Their five European home fixtures this season have ended in four wins and a draw, with only one goal conceded.
• Villarreal's five UEFA Europa League away games this season have ended W2 D1 L2. They kept their first clean sheet on their continental travels this term in the 0-0 round of 32 draw at SSC Napoli.
• Liverpool FC won the UEFA Cup three times (in 1973, 1976 and 2001) and are thus the most successful side left in this season's competition, though PSV Eindhoven (1978), Leverkusen (1988), AFC Ajax (1992), FC Porto (2003), PFC CSKA Moskva (2005) and Zenit (2008) have also won it.
• Falcao's seven goals for Porto since the start of the group stage make him the top scorer in the UEFA Europa League this season, with PFC CSKA Moskva's Tomáš Necid and Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi his closest rivals with six each.
• Villarreal have picked up 21 yellow cards since the start of the group stage, more than any other side remaining in the competition.
• Villarreal's next win will be their 50th in UEFA club competition; this is their 101st UEFA club competition game.
• Villarreal defender Joan Capdevila faced Leverkusen with RC Deportivo La Coruña in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League second group stage, with Michael Ballack scoring in each game as the German side won 3-0 at home and 3-1 away en route to meeting Madrid in the final.
• The two players met again in the final of UEFA EURO 2008, with Capdevila – and Villarreal team-mate Marcos Senna – in the Spain side that beat Ballack's Germany 1-0 in Vienna on 29 June 2008. Leverkusen's René Adler and Simon Rolfes were unused substitutes in that game.
• Leverkusen coach Heynckes faced Villarreal four times as coach of Athletic Club in the 2001/02 season. In the league, his side drew 0-0 at home and lost 5-2 at El Madrigal, but he had more success in the Copa del Rey, winning both quarter-final legs to go through 3-0 on aggregate.