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Villarreal host Dinamo Minsk in the Europa League

The bad news is it appears only two of our four strikers are fit, and Bruno Soriano isn't able to play either.

Maria José Segovia

Villarreal host Dinamo Minsk in a Europa League group stage match at El Madrigal.  Villarreal have a win and a loss from their first two matches, the visitors two losses.

Dinamo Minsk is only the second team from Belarus, after BATE Borisov, to qualify for the Europa League group stage.  They did it last year, and this time eliminated Red Bull Salzburg on penalties to get here.  However, they lost away to Plzen 2-0 and dropped a home match, 1-0 to Rapid Wien.

Minsk is currently second in their league, 46 points from 23 matches but 10 back of BATE Borisov.  Their leading scorer is Montenegro international Fatos Beciraj, with 8 goals.  But the entire team has only managed one shot on target in their first two group-stage matches.

Villarreal badly need to rebound from two losses in the league, and put together a strong game here against the team that figures to finish bottom of the group.  Unfortunately, we have some injury issues to contend with.  Bruno Soriano is still recovering from his deep leg bruise, Adrian Lopez is still out (though word is he may be ready on the weekend), and Leo Baptistao apparently has some sort of quad problem, not known what yet.  So the team is:

  • Keepers: Barbosa y Areola.
  • Defenders: Mario, Rukavina, Jokic, Jaume Costa, Eric Bailly, Víctor Ruiz, and Bonera.
  • Midfielders: Jonathan dos Santos, Pina, Trigueros, Samuel García, Samu Castillejo, Denis Suárez and Nahuel.
  • Strikers: Soldado y Bakambu.

Since Bailly is suspended for Sunday, he surely plays now, but do we go with Mario in the center and Rukavina on the right, or give Bonera another chance?  And what about midfield?  Here's my predicted starting XI:

Barbosa; Mario, Bonera, Bailly, Jokic;  J dos Santos, Pina, Trigueros, Denis Suarez; Soldado and Bakambu.

I'm not sure I totally like it, but that's what i think.

Prediction: Villarreal 3-1 Dinamo Minsk.