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Dinamo Minsk-Villarreal preview

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Surely the home side cannot be as bereft of ideas as they were in El Madrigal, can they?

Maria José Segovia

Villarreal take on Dinamo Minsk this evening in Belarus, where it is likely to be just above freezing by game time.  There will be some rotations, but not as many as in Vienna--look for Jokic, Rukavina, Mario and Ruiz in the back line in front of Barbosa, beyond that it's hard to predict.

The match is being played in the Borisov Arena, as Minsk's ground doesn't meat Europa league standards.

Minsk were rather poor in El Madrigal, and they haven't scored a goal yet in the Europa League, losing 1-0 at home to Rapid Vienna in their only other home match.  We'll have to see what the pitch conditions are like--Villarreal ideally would like to break with counterattacks and use speed to create chances for whoever plays up front, while Minsk will probably try to 'keep the game in front of them' and hope to create something in attack when they get an opportunity.

Meanwhile, in the other match being played in the group,  Viktoria Plzen hosts Rapid Wien.  Based on what we saw against us, Viktoria Plzen was the more impressive of the two sides (I'm obviously speaking of impressions watching the match, not results) but that's the problem--they have not been able to translate decent play in the middle of the field into goals and wins.

If Villarreal and Vienna both win today, then the last two matches in the group are probably irrelevant to who qualifies.  However, should Plzen pick up a home win, then even should Villarreal win they won't be assured of qualifying, but they would feel better about their chances of finishing first in the group.

The key though is for Villarreal to pick up three points here.  It's always hard playing a match in Europe against a team where you know any result except a win is going to hurt you in the group; let's hope Villarreal can avoid this potential banana skin and indeed win today.  I don't care if it's pretty, a 1-0 or 2-0 win would be fine by me.

No TV in the USA, I don't know about elsewhere, but look for streams.  Radio Vil-Real will broadcast the match of course, and Vavel will have on-line minute-by-minute written commentary.

Endavant Villarreal!!