Villarreal have never won in Italy but must now travel to Rome in pursuit of a result that will rectify their crushing round of 32 home defeat by the Giallorossi.
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While Roma will be advised not to rest on their laurels, their 4-0 win in Spain combined with Villarreal's poor European away form – both recently and specifically in Italy – suggests they should be afforded some latitude in the return fixture.
• Edin Džeko made it seven successive scoring appearances for Roma in Thursday's round of 32 opener at Villarreal – the fact it was a second-half triple ensured the Giallorossi came away with a conclusive victory. It was Villarreal's worst-ever home defeat in UEFA competition.
• Francisco García Gómez's Villarreal beat Fabio Capello's Roma 2-0 at home in the first leg of a 2003/04 UEFA Cup fourth-round tie, then progressed after a 2-1 defeat in the away leg.
• Roma's 27 matches against Spanish teams have ended W10 D4 L13 (W6 D1 L6 at home).
• Villarreal have yet to win in nine games in Italy (D4 L5); their record in 19 games against Italian sides reads W7 D5 L7.
• Roma emerged from the UEFA Europa League group stage undefeated (W3 D3), scoring four times in each of those victories, a trend they continued at Estadio de la Cerámica on 16 February.
• Villarreal are without a win in five European away matches (D3 L2), though the three most recent finished as draws.
• Losing European Cup finalists in 1984, and UEFA Cup finalists in 1991, Roma went as far as the UEFA Champions League round of 16 last season.
• Villarreal were UEFA Europa League semi-finalists again last term, yielding to Liverpool. It was the Yellow Submarine's fourth UEFA semi-final (they also reached the last four of the 2003/04 UEFA Cup, 2005/06 UEFA Champions League and 2010/11 UEFA Europa League); however, they are still waiting for their first final.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Villarreal to Rome is around 1,100km.
• Roma ace Džeko is now the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League leading scorer after his hat-trick at Villarreal lifted his tally to eight, one above Athletic's seven-goal striker Aritz Aduriz.
• Not only was it Džeko's second treble in the competition, after his matchday five haul against Viktoria Plzeň, it was his second of this current European campaign. Only five other players have notched more than one UEFA Europa League hat-trick – with just one, Radamel Falcao, having registered three.
• This game will be Villarreal's 151st in UEFA competition; their previous 150 produced results of W73 D40 L36. It will be Roma's 240th.
• Villarreal boast Italian talent in Daniele Bonera, Roberto Soriano and Nicola Sansone.
• Villarreal defender José Ángel represented Roma in the 2011/12 season, making 27 Serie A outings, plus two more in both the UEFA Europa League and the Coppa Italia.
• Villarreal's Víctor Ruiz (Napoli, 2011) also has Serie A experience.
• Roma's Diego Perotti, Federico Fazio (both Sevilla) and Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona) have played in Spain.
• Luciano Spalletti returned to Roma in January 2016 after five years in Russia with Zenit, where he claimed two championships. He lifted the Coppa Italia twice with Roma between 2005 and 2009, having first made his name leading unfancied Udinese to fourth place in Serie A in 2004/05.
• Fran Escribá took charge of Villarreal in August. A trainee at Valencia, he coached 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.
• Roma's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L3; they have lost their last three:
L 7-6 H v Arsenal (2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16)
L 4-3 A v Zaragoza (1986/87 European Cup Winners' Cup first round)
L 4-3 N v Liverpool (1983/84 European Champion Clubs' Cup final)
W 4-2 A v Norrköping (1982/83 UEFA Cup second round)
• Villarreal won their only previous UEFA penalty shoot-out:
W 3-1 A v Club Atlético de Madrid (2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup finals)