Villarreal and Steaua Bucureşti are level on points in a tight Group L, and will meet in Spain on matchday six knowing victory for either will book a round of 32 place.
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The four Group L sides are separated by a single point with one game remaining. Villarreal and Steaua Bucureşti are level on six points and each can guarantee a place in the last 32 with victory at El Madrigal.
• Villarreal are through with a win, or with a draw (albeit with one caveat) if Zürich fail to win away to Osmanlıspor. Villarreal would top any three-way tie involving Zürich and Steaua.
• Steaua are through with a victory, or with a draw other than 0-0 and 1-1 if Zürich lose.
• The clubs drew 1-1 in Bucharest in their first Group L meeting on 29 September.
• Manuel Pellegrini's Villarreal eliminated Walter Zenga's Steaua from the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 16 in the sides' only previous encounters, Juan Román Riquelme's penalty at El Madrigal decisive after a goalless first leg.
• The line-ups for their match in Villarreal on 20 March 2005 were:
Villarreal: Reina, Rodríguez, Arruabarrena, Josico, Riquelme (Arzo 90), Sorín (Cazorla 53), Figueroa, Venta, Senna, Peña, Mari (Font 85).
Steaua: Khomutovski, Rădoi, Munteanu, Boştină, Dică, Marin, Opriţa (Diniţa 83), Ogăraru, Cristea (Nicoliţă 76), Ghionea, Lovin (Ciocoiu 76).
• Those were Villarreal's only games to date against Romanian opponents, while Steaua have faced Spanish opposition 27 times in total with the record W6 D6 L15 (W2 D2 L10 in Spain). Most notably, they beat Barcelona on penalties in Seville following a 0-0 draw to win the 1986 European Champion Clubs' Cup final.
• Steaua have not won in their last seven fixtures against Spanish clubs (D1 L6), since a 3-0 second-leg success over Real Betis in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup round of 16.
• Villarreal have lost two of their three European home matches this season.
• Steaua have not won in four European away games this term (D2 L2), and have failed to score in the most recent three.
• The Yellow Submarine have qualified for the round of 32 in all six of their previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage ventures.
• Steaua have qualified for the last 32 in four of their seven previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage forays; they missed out in the most recent of these, 2014/15.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Bucharest to Villarreal is around 2,200km.
• Steaua's Gabriel Tamaş (Celta Vigo, 2006–07) and Wilfried Moke (several lower-league teams including Cádiz, 2010–13, and Burgos, 2013–15) have played club football in Spain.
• Villarreal's matchday five fixture at Zürich was their 51st in the UEFA Europa League – a competition record.
• Fran Escribá took charge of Villarreal in August. A trainee at Valencia, he coached with the club's youth sides and was Quique Sánchez Flores's assistant at Valencia, Getafe, Benfica and Atlético Madrid before going it alone with Elche and – last season – Getafe.
• Laurenţiu Reghecampf won two titles as a midfielder with Steaua and two more in his first stint as coach, from 2012–14. He returned to Bucharest in December 2015 after a spell in Bulgaria with Litex Lovech, with whom he had claimed a championship as a player in 1998/99.
Teams taking part in all of the matchday six UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League fixtures will observe a minute's silence to pay respect to the victims of last week's air disaster involving the Chapecoense team and accompanying delegation.
The Brazilian club lost most of their players and coaching staff in the accident, which occurred in Colombia, where Chapecoense were due to play the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atlético Nacional.
"European football is united in expressing its deepest sympathy to Chapecoense, the Brazilian Football Confederation [CBF], CONMEBOL and the families of all the victims," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. "This tragedy has shaken the world of football, and we would like to send our support to all of those affected by it."