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Villarreal will travel to Plzen, Wien, Minsk in Europa League

Not a bad draw, given some of the clubs we could have faced; the Submarine will be favorites to progress. No big names in our group.

Playing to keep this thing in Spain
Playing to keep this thing in Spain
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Villarreal open up against Rapid Vienna in Austria (September 17).   The Austrians pushed Shaktar Donetsk hard in the Champions League qualifying, losing 3-2 on aggregate, so can't be overlooked, but don't appear to have the firepower of Red Bull Salzburg, whom we played last year.

Our first home match in the  Europa League is on October 1 versus FC Viktoria Plzen.  They had a run to the CL round of 16 several years ago, but that club is not this one; they had an easy playoff win against a Serbian club to get here.

On October 22, VIllarreal host Dinamo Minsk. These guys defeated Zurich (in extra time) and then Red Bull Salzburg (on penalties) to get here.  Luck has been on their side so far--will it continue?

The reverse legs take place on November 5 (Minsk, A), November 26 (Rapid Wien, H), and December 10 (Plzen, A).

On the face of it, it looks like a group where the other three clubs might share a lot of points with each other, so 11-12 points should probably win the group.