AZ braced for Valencia's home show of strength

Valencia CF scored four goals in their last two home games against Dutch sides and will look to keep that record as AZ Alkmaar visit in a UEFA Europa League quarter-final decider.

Valencia coach Unai Emery
Valencia coach Unai Emery ©AFP/Getty Images

Valencia CF scored four goals in their last two home games against Dutch sides and will look to keep that record as AZ Alkmaar come calling, with the visitors 2-1 up in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final.

• Brett Holman put AZ ahead in first-half added time in Alkmaar, and while Mehmet Topal (51) headed the Spanish side level, Maarten Martens (79) struck to give his side a 2-1 win.

Previous meetings
• This tie is the sides' first meeting in UEFA club competition.

• The loss in Alkmaar was Valencia's first in 11 games against Dutch sides, with their record now reading W4 D6 L1 (W3 D2 L0 at home).

• Valencia eliminated another Dutch side, PSV Eindhoven, in the round of 16.

• AZ's record in eight games against Spanish sides is W4 D3 L1 (W2 D1 L1 in Spain).

• AZ have won their last three games against Spanish sides, but have lost two of their three two-legged encounters with Liga clubs. Encouragingly, their only knockout success against Spanish opposition came in the quarter-finals of the 2004/05 UEFA Cup, when they won 2-1 at Villarreal CF and then drew the home leg 1-1.

• Valencia have scored four goals in each of their last two home games against Eredivisie sides.

Match background
• Valencia are unbeaten in eight home games in Europe since a 1-0 loss to Manchester United FC in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage, six wins and two draws. That run has included 6-1 and 7-0 successes against Bursaspor and KRC Genk, respectively, in the autumn.

• AZ have won just once in their last 17 European away games, 1-0 at RSC Anderlecht in this season's round of 32.

• The Spanish side lifted the UEFA Cup in 2003/04, beating Olympique de Marseille 2-0 in the final in Gothenburg. They last reached the quarter-finals in 2009/10, losing on away goals to eventual winners Club Atlético de Madrid, drawing 2-2 at home and 0-0 away.

• A 2-1 loss at Udinese Calcio in the round of 16 decider ended a ten-match European unbeaten run for AZ, comprising five wins and five draws.

• The Kaaskoppen (Cheeseheads) are playing European football in the spring for the first time since 2006/07, when they beat Fenerbahçe SK and Newcastle United FC before bowing out to SV Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

Team facts
• Valencia are the only side left in the competition from the eight that transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage into the round of 32.

• AZ have had 64 shots on target in this season's competition, more than any other side.

• Simon Poulsen, Adam Maher, Rasmus Elm and goalkeeper Esteban have started all 11 of AZ's games since the start of the group stage, with Jozy Altidore featuring in every match, but starting just eight.

• Esteban and FC Metalist Kharkiv defender Papa Gueye are the only players to have played in a maximum 990 minutes of this season's competition.

• Valencia do not have a player who has appeared in all their European games, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League, this season.

• AZ forward Altidore played for Villarreal (2008-11) and in November 2008 became the first United States-born player to score in the Spanish league.

• Valencia boast Dutch talent in the form of central defender Hedwiges Maduro, a 2008 signing from AFC Ajax.

• AZ defender Etienne Reijnen turns 25 on the day of the game.

• Maduro and AZ forward Roy Beerens won the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship together, while Maduro, Beerens and AZ defender Dirk Marcellis played at the Beijing Olympic Games for the Netherlands.

• The son and grandson of famous goalkeepers, Valencia coach Unai Emery had a modest playing career but learned quickly as a coach at Lorca Deportiva CF and UD Almería, with whom he won promotion to the Liga. Valencia chose him to replace Ronald Koeman as coach in 2008.

• Valencia have been coached by two Dutchmen, Guus Hiddink and Ronald Koeman; the latter was also once coach of AZ.

• AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek spent most of his playing career as a defender at sc Heerenveen, barring a season on loan at Heracles Almelo in 1986/87. He has twice coached Heracles (2001-04 and 2009-10) either side of stints in charge of Heerenveen (2004-08) and, briefly, Feyenoord in 2008/09. AZ brought him in at the start of 2010/11.

• Verbeek was Foppe de Haan's assistant at Heerenveen when they lost 1-0 at home and drew 1-1 away against Valencia in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Final rounds
• The winners will take on Club Atlético de Madrid or Hannover 96 in the semi-finals, playing the second leg at home. Whoever prevails in that tie will be the nominal home side in the final in Bucharest's National Arena on 9 May.

• AZ have never played in Bucharest, while Valencia have been to the Romanian capital four times, with the record W1 D1 L2.

• AZ have never met any of their potential semi-final or final opponents.

• Valencia lost out to Atlético on away goals in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

• Of the sides they could potentially face in the final, Valencia have only met Schalke before in Europe, but have done so on six occasions, with the record W1 D3 L2.

• Valencia could yet face Athletic Club in an all-Spanish final. There was an all-Spanish UEFA Cup final in 2006/07, when Sevilla FC beat RCD Espanyol on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here: