Lo Celso, Giovani
Villarreal’s amazing Champions League adventure continues.
El Submarino Amarillo actually finished seventh in La Liga last season, so only qualified for Europe’s top-tier competition by winning the Europa League Final.
Nevertheless, they ousted Atalanta in the group stages before hammering Italian giants Juventus 4-1 on aggregate in the round of 16.
Even so, Unai Emery’s men went into Wednesday’s quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich as massive underdogs.
Despite this, Estadio de la Cerámica erupted just eight minutes in when top scorer Arnaut Danjuma diverted the ball past Manuel Neuer into the corner.
Francis Coquelin thought he’d doubled the host’s lead on the cusp of half time, but his deflected goal was disallowed due to an offside in the build-up.
Bayern pushed for an equaliser in the second half, but could not find one, thereby leaving Eastern Spain 1-0 down.
The German champions are still firm favourites to reach the semi-final, but Villarreal will to travel to Allianz Arena with a lead to defend.
Back in La Liga, there’s no guarantee el Submarino Amarillo will be in any European competition next season.
Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to then bottom of the table Levante means they’ve lost three of their last four matches, scoring just once in these games.
This leaves them seventh which, if Valencia beat Real Betis in the Copa del Rey Final later this month, would not be enough to get into Europe.
Athletic Club Bilbao meanwhile kick off just one place and one point below their hosts, also firmly in the hunt for Europe.
Marcelino’s men beat Elche 2-1 last weekend with Álex Berenguer and then Asier Villalibre the scorers.
However, this merely continued Athletic’s mixed form; their last seven games have produced three wins, three defeats and one draw.
The Lions are going to need to improve on that if they’re to return to Europe for the first time since 2017/18.
Who will claim three important point at El Madrigal?
Villarreal team news
Unai Emery would love to heavily rotate his XI given that they played Bayern Munich just three days ago and face them again in three days time.
However, given that this is also an important game, he’ll need to find the right balance.
Villarreal could have issues at full-back where, with Alberto Moreno injured, Pervis Estupiñán will keep his place on the left.
Over on the other side, Juan Foyth hobbled off on Wednesday, meaning Serge Aurier is likely to come in, chosen over Rubén Peña.
Mid-week scorer Arnaut Danjuma, Giovanni Lo Celso and Gerard Moreno are very much the first-choice front three.
However, any of Moi Gómez, Samu Chukwueze, Yeremy or Paco Alcácer could be rotated in for this one; Boulaye Dia is injured.
Athletic Bilbao team news
Athletic Club meanwhile will be hoping their significantly extra rest can make the difference.
Iñaki Williams will continue to lead the line having now feature in 225 successive La Liga games.
Asier Villalibre’s goal last weekend could see him come into the XI, taking Oihan Sancet’s place.
With Yeray Álvarez and Iñigo Martínez out injured, Unai Núñez and Daniel Vivian will continue as the centre-backs.
FC Barcelona vs Villarreal CF - 0:2
Villarreal CF vs Real Sociedad San Sebastian - 1:2
Rayo Vallecano vs Villarreal CF - 1:5
Villarreal CF vs Sevilla FC - 1:1
Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC - 2:3
|Latest match form, last 5 games:||
Sevilla FC vs Athletic Bilbao - 1:0
Athletic Bilbao vs CA Osasuna - 2:0
Granada CF vs Athletic Bilbao - 1:0
Athletic Bilbao vs Valencia CF - 0:0
Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid - 2:0
|May 22, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||FC Barcelona||0 - 2||Villarreal CF|
|May 15, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Villarreal CF||1 - 2||Real Sociedad San Sebastian|
|May 12, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Rayo Vallecano||1 - 5||Villarreal CF|
|May 8, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Villarreal CF||1 - 1||Sevilla FC|
|May 3, 2022||UEFA Champions League 21/22||Villarreal CF||2 - 3||Liverpool FC|
|May 22, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Sevilla FC||1 - 0||Athletic Bilbao|
|May 15, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Athletic Bilbao||2 - 0||CA Osasuna|
|May 10, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Granada CF||1 - 0||Athletic Bilbao|
|May 7, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Athletic Bilbao||0 - 0||Valencia CF|
|April 30, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Athletic Bilbao||2 - 0||Atletico Madrid|
|Villarreal CF||Athletic Bilbao|
|170||Shots on goal||154|
|141||Shots off goal||168|
|55%||Average ball possession||48%|
|4||Shots on post||6|
|4||Shots on bar||6|
|53||Goals by foot||31|
|9||Goals by head||9|
|Villarreal CF||Athletic Bilbao|
|1.35||Average Goals Scored||1.11|
|April 9, 2022||LaLiga 21/22||Villarreal CF||1 - 1||Athletic Bilbao|
|October 23, 2021||LaLiga 21/22||Athletic Bilbao||2 - 1||Villarreal CF|
|February 21, 2021||LaLiga 20/21||Athletic Bilbao||1 - 1||Villarreal CF|
|December 22, 2020||LaLiga 20/21||Villarreal CF||1 - 1||Athletic Bilbao|
|March 1, 2020||LaLiga 19/20||Athletic Bilbao||1 - 0||Villarreal CF|
La Liga table:
|5||Real Sociedad San Sebastian||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|8||RC Celta de Vigo||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|13||Real Betis Seville||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
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What time is kick off between Villarreal CF vs Athletic Bilbao?
16:30, Saturday 09 April 2022