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Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Villarreal background

Maccabi Tel-Aviv lost away on matchday one but will look to get their Group A campaign up and running at home to group stage regulars Villarreal.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv celebrate a goal in qualifying
Maccabi Tel-Aviv celebrate a goal in qualifying ©Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC

Maccabi Tel-Aviv lost away on matchday one but will look to get their UEFA Europa League Group A campaign up and running at home against group stage regulars Villarreal.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time; it is Villarreal's first encounter with Israeli opponents.

• In their only previous tie against a Spanish team, Maccabi lost 3-2 away and then drew 1-1 against Tenerife in a 1996/97 UEFA Cup tie.

Highlights: Slavia Praha v M. Tel-Aviv

Form guide
• Maccabi are unbeaten in six European home games (W4 D2) since losing 4-3 to Zenit in their opening UEFA Europa League group stage home fixture of 2016/17 – a game in which they were 3-0 up with 13 minutes remaining.

• Villarreal have not lost in their last four European away contests: W1 D3. They have lost only one of their last ten away games in the UEFA Europa League, the 2015/16 semi-final second leg at Liverpool (0-3).

• Maccabi have progressed from the first qualifying round to the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second straight season. They were league and cup runners-up in Israel last term.

• Semi-finalists in 2015/16 when they lost out to Liverpool, Villarreal are featuring in a fourth consecutive UEFA Europa League group stage, having progressed safely in each of the last three.

• Villarreal hold the UEFA Europa League group stage to final records for most games played (55), most wins (31) and most goals scored (96).

Highlights: Villarreal v Astana

Links and trivia
• The journey from Villarreal to Tel Aviv is around 3,200km.

• Villarreal share with Anderlecht the record of getting through the UEFA Europa League group stage five times.

• Maccabi are one of three teams to have come all the way from first qualifying round to group stage this season, along with Crvena zvezda and Skënderbeu.

• Former team-mates:
Villarreal's Pablo Fornals and Maccabi's Yegor Filipenko (Málaga 2015–16)
Villarreal's Andrés Fernández and Maccabi's Jean-Sylvain Babin (Granada 2015–16)

• Babin has represented no fewer than four different clubs in Spain (Lucena 2008–10, Alcorcón 2010–14, Granada 2014–16, Gijón 2016–17), while team-mate Omer Atzily was at Granada for the 2016/17 season.

The coaches
• Jordi Cruyff took over as Maccabi boss in 2017 after five years as the club's sporting director. The son of Dutch great Johan Cruyff, he played for Barcelona and Manchester United and reached the 2001 UEFA Cup final with Alavés.

• Villarreal dismissed coach Fran Escribá on Monday, 25 September, in the wake of a 4-0 defeat at Getafe. He had been in charge since 2016, and led the club to a fifth-placed Liga finish last season.

• The club's new coach is Javier Calleja, who represented Villarreal as a player from 1999-2006, and returned to El Madrigal after hanging up his boots as a youth coach. He was coaching the club's B-team when he was called up to replace Escriba.