Villarreal will look to extend Slavia Praha’s ten-year wait for a European away victory as the sides meet in their third UEFA Europa League Group A game.
• The teams are facing each other for the first time.
• Villarreal are unbeaten in seven encounters with Czech clubs: W5 D2.
• Slavia have won only one of their eight games against Spanish opposition – 2-0 against Celta Vigo in a 2003 UEFA Champions League qualifier. Their overall record: W1 D3 L4 (D2 L2 in Spain).
• Villarreal are unbeaten in three European matches (W2 D1).
• Slavia are without a win in 19 UEFA away fixtures (D9 L10) since a 1-0 victory at Ajax in August 2007.
• Semi-finalists in 2015/16 when they lost to Liverpool, Villarreal are featuring in a fourth consecutive UEFA Europa League group stage, having progressed safely in each of the last three.
• Edged out by APOEL in this season’s UEFA Champions League play-offs, Slavia made it through the UEFA Cup group stage in 2005/06, but missed the cut in 2008/09 and also fell short in their only previous UEFA Europa League group campaign of 2009/10.
Trivia and links
• The journey from Prague to Villarreal is around 1,600km.
• Slavia midfielder Miroslav Stoch turns 28 on the day of the game.
• Villarreal share with Anderlecht the record of getting through the UEFA Europa League group stage five times.
• The duo’s Group A rivals Maccabi are one of three teams to have come all the way from first qualifying round to group stage this term, along with Crvena zvezda and Skënderbeu.
• A Czechoslovak league runner-up in 1992/93 as a Slavia midfielder, Jaroslav Šilhavý returned to the club after a 22-year absence in September 2016. And having won the Czech crown as Liberec boss in 2011/12, he triumphed again with Slavia in 2017.
• Villarreal dismissed coach Fran Escribá on 25 September in the wake of a 4-0 defeat at Getafe. He had been in charge since 2016, leading the team to a fifth-placed Liga finish last season.
• Villarreal’s new coach is Javier Calleja, who represented them as a player from 1999–2006, and returned to El Madrigal as a youth coach after hanging up his boots. He was coaching the B team when he was called upon to replace Escribá.