Local rivals Valencia and Villarreal, the last two Spanish sides standing, meet in a European quarter-final for the second time.
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Local rivals Villarreal and Valencia, the last two Spanish sides left in the UEFA Europa League, have been drawn together in the quarter-finals. It is the ninth all-Spanish tie in the competition's history and the third at the quarter-final stage.
• Undefeated in their ten matches so far, Villarreal drew four times and won twice in topping Group G as they secured a knockout phase berth for a fifth successive season. They recorded a 2-1 aggregate success against Sporting CP in the round of 32 (1-0 away, 1-1 home) before winning both round of 16 encounters against Zenit (3-1 away, 2-1 home).
• Valencia's autumn campaign was in the UEFA Champions League, where they finished third behind Juventus and Manchester United in Group H (W2 D2 L2). They eased past Celtic, 3-0 over the two legs, in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 but needed a dramatic added-time equaliser away to Krasnodar in the round of 16 second leg to eliminate the Russian side 3-2 on aggregate.
• The teams have been paired together once previously in UEFA competition, Valencia overcoming Villarreal 1-0 on aggregate (0-0 away, 1-0 home) in the semi-finals of the 2003/04 UEFA Cup, which they went on to win. That was Villarreal's debut season in major European competition.
• The clubs have met 38 times in the Spanish Liga. Villarreal have the edge with 16 wins to Valencia's 14.
• Villarreal have won only one of eight UEFA fixtures against fellow Spanish opposition and just one of four knockout ties, their 2-0 first-leg victory against Atlético Madrid in the 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup final preceding a defeat by the same score in Madrid and a penalty shoot-out success. Their most recent European engagement with a Spanish club brought home (1-3) and away (1-2) defeats by eventual winners Sevilla in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 16.
• Valencia have played 17 UEFA fixtures against fellow Liga clubs, including the 2000 UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid, which they lost 3-0 at the Stade de France. They won their first three two-legged ties against Spanish opposition but have lost their last four – all in the UEFA Europa League.
• Valencia's four previous UEFA Europa League campaigns have therefore all come to a halt against Spanish opposition, with elimination by Atlético Madrid in the 2009/10 quarter-finals and 2011/12 semi-finals, Sevilla in the 2013/14 semi-finals and Athletic Club in the 2015/16 round of 16. Only in the latter case did their conquerors not go on to lift the trophy.
• 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 subsequent progress to the knockout phase.
• In total they have made seven UEFA Europa League group appearances and have never finished outside the top two. They topped their section for only the third time this term, drawing all three away games and picking up seven points at home, where they drew 2-2 with Rangers and overwhelmed Rapid Wien 5-0 before beating Spartak Moskva 2-0 on matchday six to ensure further progress.
• Villarreal are in the quarter-finals for the third time, and have won each of the previous two ties at this juncture, overcoming Twente 8-2 on aggregate in 2010/11 (5-1 home, 3-1 away) and Sparta Praha 6-3 overall in 2015/16 (2-1 home, 4-2 away). They have therefore won all four of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final matches, scoring 14 goals.
• Villarreal have won six of their last 14 home fixtures in Europe, losing five. Prior to that sequence they had won seven in a row, conceding just one goal – all those games coming in that 2015/16 UEFA Europa League campaign when they progressed to the semi-finals.
• Fourth in the Spanish Liga in 2017/18, Valencia qualified for an 11th UEFA Champions League group stage campaign after two consecutive seasons without European football. Runners-up in that competition in both 1999/2000 and 2000/01, they lifted the UEFA Cup in 2004.
• Valencia lost twice without scoring against Juventus in the autumn but took four points off both Manchester United and Young Boys, beating each at home and drawing away. Celtic were subsequently brushed aside in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 (2-0 away, 1-0 home) before substitute Gonçalo Guedes's late strike in Russia (1-1), which supplemented a first-leg double by Rodrigo (2-1), knocked out Krasnodar.
• This is the Spanish side's fourth appearance in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, and they have won two of their three previous ties at this stage, losing to Atlético on away goals in 2009/10 (2-2 home, 0-0 away) but overcoming AZ Alkmaar in 2011/12 (1-2 away, 4-0 home) and Basel in 2013/14 (0-3 away, 5-0aet home).
• Valencia have won only one of their last six away games in UEFA competition (D3 L2) – that 2-0 success at Celtic – and managed just two goals in the other five matches. Furthermore, their last four away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and semi-finals have all ended in defeat.
Links and trivia
• Valencia coach Marcelino was in charge of Villarreal between 2013 and 2016.
• Víctor Ruiz made 59 Liga appearances for Valencia between 2011 and 2014 before leaving to join Villarreal.
• Russian international Denis Cheryshev is on loan at Valencia from Villarreal, for whom he has made 61 Liga appearances, scoring six times, during two spells.
• Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista made 37 league appearances for Villarreal from 2013 to 2015.
• Valencia trio José Gayà, Daniel Parejo and Rodrigo have all played for Spain in 2018/19 – as has Villarreal's Pablo Fornals.
• Villarreal are one of seven teams to have come through the UEFA Europa League group stage undefeated, and are now one of only three to have retained that status after the round of 16, alongside Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt. Valencia are also unbeaten in their four UEFA Europa League matches.
• Villarreal have played more games than any other club in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (72), and have also scored the most goals (123).
• Valencia are one of four former winners of the trophy in this season's quarter-finals, along with Chelsea, Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt.
• Valencia are through to the final of the Copa del Rey in Seville, where they will face holders Barcelona on 25 May.
• First appointed on 25 September 2017, Javier Calleja was reinstated as Villarreal's coach on 29 January – just 50 days after being dismissed and replaced by Luis García Plaza. 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 originally promoted to the top job. Villarreal finished fifth in the Liga in his first season in charge.
• Marcelino's career as a midfielder, which included representing Spain at youth and Under-21 level, was curtailed at the age of 28 by injury. As a coach, he worked his way up the Spanish leagues, stints with Zaragoza, Real Racing Club and Sevilla preceding an impressive three-and-a-half-year spell at Villarreal, whom he guided to promotion, three successive top-six Liga finishes and the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League semi-finals. He was appointed by Valencia in May 2017.