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Rangers v Villarreal facts

Two points separate the four Group G teams, so Rangers will want to make the most of home advantage against Villarreal.

Rangers' Andrew Halliday (left) falls under pressure from Karl Toko Ekambi of Villarreal
Rangers' Andrew Halliday (left) falls under pressure from Karl Toko Ekambi of Villarreal ©Getty Images

Everything is still to play for in UEFA Europa League Group G, with just two points separating the four teams. Rangers will be eager to bounce back immediately from their first European defeat of the season as they host section leaders Villarreal, who will maintain their flawless record of qualifying for the knockout phase with three points in Glasgow.

• Rangers had gone 11 European games unbeaten under new manager Steven Gerrard when they lost 4-3 at Spartak Moskva on matchday four despite leading three times. Their previous two fixtures, both at Ibrox, had brought them four of their five points – from a 3-1 win against Rapid Wien and a goalless draw with Spartak. Rangers cannot qualify on matchday five but will be out if they lose and Spartak win at home to Rapid.

• Villarreal do remain undefeated in Europe this season, and lead the standings with six points having drawn three of their group games – the latest 0-0 away at Rapid Wien, the team they had beaten 5-0 at home a fortnight earlier. Victory against Rangers will secure a record-breaking seventh qualification from the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Highlights: Villarreal 2-2 Rangers

Previous meetings
• The teams drew 2-2 in Spain on matchday one, Rangers twice coming from behind.

• They had been paired together once before, in the last 16 of the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League, the Liga club progressing on away goals after a 2-2 draw in Glasgow and a 1-1 draw in Spain. It was Villarreal's debut season in the competition, and they went on to reach the semi-finals.

• Rangers have won just three of their 23 matches against Spanish clubs in UEFA competition, all of those at home but none of the last six (D4 L2). Their last victory came in 1985, when they beat Osasuna 1-0 at Ibrox in the UEFA Cup first round but then lost 2-0 in Pamplona and were eliminated. Home and away, the Gers are on a 14-match winless run against Spanish opposition (D6 L8).

• Villarreal have lost just once in seven matches against Scottish clubs but are yet to win in Scotland. They drew their first two matches before losing 2-0 to Celtic on their most recent visit, in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Form guide
• Rangers qualified for 2018/19 European competition with a third-placed finish in last season's Scottish Premiership. They are one of four teams to have reached this group stage after beginning their UEFA Europa League journey in the first qualifying round, knocking out Shkupi, Osijek, Maribor and, in the play-offs, Ufa – all without losing a match.

The best goals from matchday four

• This is the Gers' debut appearance in a UEFA Europa League group stage, although they reached the last 16 in 2010/11 after crossing over in mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League.

• Defeated unexpectedly by Progrès Niedercorn of Luxembourg in last season's UEFA Europa League first qualifying round on their return to Europe after a six-year wait, Rangers nevertheless won the home leg of that tie and are now undefeated in eight European matches at Ibrox (W5 D3).

• Villarreal finished fifth in the 2017/18 Spanish Liga to qualify for Europe for the fifth successive season, all of them featuring UEFA Europa League group stage participation – and in every previous case progress into the competition's knockout phase.

• In total they have made seven UEFA Europa League group stage appearances and have yet to finish outside the top two. Their best seasons in the competition were 2010/11 and 2015/16, in which they reached the semi-finals.

• Villarreal are currently on an unbeaten streak of ten UEFA Europa League group stage away matches (W3 D7), the last defeat on their travels at this juncture of the competition having been a 2-1 reverse at Rapid Wien on matchday one of the 2015/16 campaign.

#UEL matchday four skills zone

Links and trivia 
• Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos made his senior international debut for Colombia as a substitute in a friendly against Venezuela on 7 September 2018. Villarreal's Carlos Bacca was in Colombia's starting XI.

• Rangers are one of ten clubs in the 2018/19 group stage who have lost UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League finals, the others being Anderlecht, Vidi, Salzburg, Bordeaux, Lazio, Arsenal, Celtic, Sporting CP and, on three occasions, Marseille. Of that group only Anderlecht have lifted the trophy.

• Villarreal hold the record not only for the most games played in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (66), but also the most goals scored (114). Salzburg, however, overtook them on matchday four in the category for most wins, and now lead them 35 to 34.

The coaches
• A Liverpool great with 186 goals in 710 appearances for the Anfield club, most of them as captain, Steven Gerrard launched his managerial career at Glasgow giants Rangers in May 2018. An England international for 14 years, accumulating 114 caps and 21 goals, the dynamic midfielder won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League with Liverpool. After an 18-month end-of-career spell with LA Galaxy he returned to coach Liverpool's youth team before the job at Ibrox lured him to Scotland.

• Javier Calleja took over as Villarreal's new coach on 25 September 2017 following Fran Escribá's dismissal. He represented the club as a player from 1999 to 2006, having started out at academy level with Real Madrid, and returned as a youth coach in 2012/13 after hanging up his boots. He was coaching the B team, a position he had held for only a few weeks, when he was promoted to the top job. Villarreal finished fifth in the Liga in his first season in charge.