Villarreal make their Champions League return 4 years later since the 2011/12 season, in hopes of qualifying to the group stage as they will be taking on AS Monaco at El Madrigal in the first leg of the play offs round.
Both teams will be facing the tie with important changes and significant absences. For Villarreal, one of the most significant changes has been the dismissal of Marcelino García Toral just a week ago, and the appointing of low profile manager Fran Escribá.
Villarreal team news: The Yellow Submarine faces the encounter with many injury withdrawals. Cedric Bakambu, Roberto Soldado, Jonathan dos Santos, Jaume Costa, Daniele Bonera, Cheryshev, will be missing the game due to injury, while Víctor Ruiz is suspended. We are talking about 8 players who are essential for Villarreal. Additionally, Musacchio and Bruno are doubtful but it is expected that they will be featuring.
Meanwhile, Santos Borré has been registered and will be available to play against Monaco in case Fran Escribá decides to use him.
It is rather difficult to make a prediction since there are so many absences. However, Fran Escribá has promised that he will be fielding a competitive line up despite the injuries.
Possible line up:
AS Monaco team news: The Monegasque outfit has their own fair share of injuries albeit not many as Villarreal.
Falcao is still out recovering from the injury sustained against Fenerbahce. Vagner Love and Djibril are also out with injury problems, as well as youngster Kylian Mnappe who’s taking a rest after suffering a concussion in the league match against Guingamp.
Monaco will be happy to be counting with the return of French striker Valere Germain who recovered in time for the playoff despite missing the league opener. However, Joao Moutinho is not 100% according to manager Leonardo Jardim, and will be most likely be on the bench.
Facts to consider:
- Monaco have played 18 matches against Spanish teams with the following balance: W6-D4-L8 (W5-D3-L1 at home – W1 D1 L7 in Spain).
- Villarreal has never lost a match against a Ligue 1 club. The first precedent was in the now defunct UEFA Intertoto Cup in the 2002⁄03 season against Troyes. They tied 0-0 in the first match at El Madrigal, and they were awarded a 3-0 victory due to a improper line up from the French outfit for fielding an ineligible player. Then in the 2005-2006 Champions League season, Villarreal played Lille in the group stages. The first result was a 0-0 draw in France, and then Villarreal defeated Lille 1-0 at El Madrigal.
- The most recent precedent for Monaco against a Valencian team was the elimination suffered at the hands of Valencia last season in the same play off round stage. Monaco lost 3-1 at Mestalla, and won 2-1 at the Stade Louis II.
- Villarreal have won their last 7 European encounters at home. The Yellow Submarine ended last season undefeated at El Madrigal during the Europa League. Villarreal last defeat at home was the 3-1 loss against Sevilla on March, 2015.