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Villarreal v Apollon background

Having won their last nine UEFA Europa League home games, Villarreal CF will look to get a first victory in Group A as they welcome Cypriot side Apollon Limassol FC.

Ikechukwu Uche after scoring for Villarreal
Ikechukwu Uche after scoring for Villarreal ©AFP/Getty Images

Villarreal CF will look to keep a positive UEFA Europa League home run going as Apollon Limassol FC visit in Group A.

Form guide
Apollon's first trip to Spain ended in one of their two worst European results: an 8-0 loss to FC Barcelona in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup on 15 September 1982, Diego Maradona scoring a hat-trick in his first UEFA club competition outing.

Villarreal lost all three of their 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage home games without scoring, but have won their last nine UEFA Europa League home fixtures.

• Having made their debut last season, Apollon are the first Cypriot side to have reached the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second time. They won their first away match in last season's group stage – 1-0 at Legia Warszawa.

• Only once in 25 UEFA encounters has a Cypriot club side overcome Spanish opposition, Anorthosis Famagusta FC beating Athletic Club 2-0 at home in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup first round.

Trivia and links
• Dismissed in Apollon's opening game, Marcos Gullón cannot feature against Villarreal – the side where he came through the youth ranks and played at senior level from 2010 to 2012.

Apollon boast Spanish talent in former FC Barcelona trainee Hugo López, who has never played in the Liga.

Apollon's Gaston Sangoy scored twice against Villarreal during his time at Real Sporting de Gijón, while on-loan forward Fabrice also has Liga experience: while at Málaga CF he became the Liga's youngest ever goalscorer at 16 years and 98 days, finding the target against RC Celta de Vigo on 18 August 2012.

Apollon's Fotis Papoulis scored the first goal of the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage, nine minutes into their 3-2 matchday one win against FC Zürich.

The coaches
• 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.

• Appointed in March 2013, Christakis Christoforou guided Apollon to Cypriot Cup glory in 2012/13, and is the first coach to have led the men's and women's branches of the same club in UEFA competition. The former defender steered Apollon's women's side to five successive domestic doubles, and to the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 three times.

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