Red Bull Salzburg are set to play host to Villarreal at the Red Bull Arena on Thursday for the first leg of the Round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League.
Red Bull Salzburg come into this game on the back of a 4-2 win over Thomas Silberberger's WSG Swarovski Tirol on Saturday in the Austrian Bundesliga. A brace from Zambian forward Patson Daka and goals from German striker Mergim Berisha and Mali international Sekou Koita ensured victory for Jesse Marsch's Red Bull Salzburg.
Austrian right-back Fabian Koch and young Danish attacker Nikolai Baden Frederiksen scored the consolation goals for WSG Swarovski Tirol.
Villarreal, on the other hand, lost 2-1 to Manuel Pellegrini's Real Betis yesterday in La Liga. Goals from France international Nabil Fekir and Brazilian right-back Emerson sealed the deal for Real Betis. Spanish striker Gerard Moreno scored the sole goal for Villarreal.
Red Bull Salzburg vs Villarreal Head-to-Head
In four head-to-head encounters between the two sides, the record is exactly even. Red Bull Salzburg have won two games and lost two.
The two clubs last faced each other in 2015 in the second leg of the Round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League. Villarreal beat Red Bull Salzburg 3-1 and secured a 5-2 aggregate win. A brace from Argentine forward Luciano Vietto, now at Al Hilal, and a goal from Mexico international Giovani dos Santos sealed the win that day.
Austrian attacker Marco Djuricin, now at Austria Wien, scored the goal for Red Bull Salzburg.
Red Bull Salzburg form guide in the Austrian Bundesliga: W-W-W-W-W
Villarreal form guide in La Liga: L-D-D-D-D
Red Bull Salzburg vs Villarreal Team News
Red Bull Salzburg
Red Bull Salzburg could be without Austrian centre-back Maximilian Wober and Brazilian defender Bernardo, who are both nursing injuries. Brazilian centre-back Andre Ramalho is suspended.
Doubtful: Maximilian Wober, Bernardo
Suspended: Andre Ramalho
Meanwhile, Villarreal manager Unai Emery will be unable to call upon the services of Spanish left-back Alberto Moreno, midfielder Vicente Iborra, Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze, French midfielder Francis Coquelin and right-back Mario Gaspar.
Injured: Alberto Moreno, Samuel Chukwueze, Francis Coquelin, Mario Gaspar, Vicente Iborra
Red Bull Salzburg vs Villarreal Predicted XI
Red Bull Salzburg Predicted XI (4-2-2-2): Cican Stankovic, Rasmus Kristensen, Oumar Solet, Albert Vallci, Andreas Ulmer, Enock Mwepu, Mohamed Camara, Mergim Berisha, Brenden Aaronson, Patson Daka, Sekou Koita
Villarreal Predicted XI (4-3-3): Sergio Asenjo, Ruben Pena, Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, Pervis Estupinan, Etienne Capoue, Juan Foyth, Dani Parejo, Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcacer, Moi Gomez
Red Bull Salzburg vs Villarreal Prediction
Red Bull Salzburg are a dominant force in the Austrian Bundesliga, and have famously acted as stepping stones for players like Erling Braut Haaland, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita. They have talents like Patson Daka, Brenden Aaronson and Sekou Koita in the squad now, and have shown before that they are no pushovers.
Villarreal, on the other hand, have assembled a good squad for manager Unai Emery. The Spaniard has enjoyed tremendous success in the Europa League, and his experience could prove to be vital.
Both sides have good players, and a draw seems to be an ideal result.
Prediction: Red Bull Salzburg 1-1 Villarreal