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Villarreal first for Mönchengladbach

VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach take on Villarreal CF in their opening UEFA Europa League Group A game, both teams having breezed through the play-offs.

Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer
Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer ©Getty Images

Fresh from their biggest UEFA Europa League victory, VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach take on Villarreal CF in their opening Group A game, with the Spanish side having also breezed through the play-offs.

Form guide
Mönchengladbach's four home games against Spanish sides (W2 D1 L1) include two wins in which they scored five goals – most famously a 5-1 success against Real Madrid CF in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup third round. They lost 4-0 in the return leg to exit on away goals.

Mönchengladbach recorded their biggest UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League home win in their last continental fixture, beating FK Sarajevo 7-0 in their play-off decider. They are unbeaten in four European home games (W3 D1).

Villarreal have alternated wins and defeats in their four games in Germany; if that pattern continues, they are due a victory at Mönchengladbach.

Villarreal scored seven goals without reply against FC Astana in the UEFA Europa League play-offs; their 3-0 win in Kazakhstan ended a run of five straight continental away defeats.

Trivia and links
Villarreal midfielder Javier Espinosa turns 22 the day after the Mönchengladbach game.

Mönchengladbach's Spanish defender Álvaro Domínguez and Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo were team-mates at Club Atlético de Madrid when the Colchoneros won the UEFA Europa League in 2009/10 and 2011/12. Domínguez featured in both finals, while Asenjo was an unused substitute in the second.

Villarreal's Serbian right-back Antonio Rukavina knows German football well, having represented Borussia Dortmund (2008) and TSV 1860 München (2009-12) before moving to Spain.

The coaches
• Swiss coach Lucien Favre is leading Mönchengladbach into a second UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, having steered them to the round of 32 in 2012/13. The former Switzerland midfielder won two national titles and a Swiss Cup in charge of FC Zürich, and coached Hertha BSC Berlin before taking over Mönchengladbach in 2011.

• An attacking midfielder in the Spanish top flight with Real Sporting de Gijón, Villarreal coach Marcelino started coaching early after retiring due to injury aged 28. In charge at El Madrigal since 2013, he has also overseen RC Recreativo de Huelva, Real Racing Club, Real Zaragoza and Sevilla FC.

• Favre's four European games against Spanish sides as a coach with Servette FC ended W1 D2 L1, including a 5-2 aggregate loss to Villarreal's neighbours Valencia CF in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup. Marcelino's only previous European campaign as a coach was ended by German opponents, his Sevilla side losing to Hannover 96 in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League play-offs.