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Villarreal vs Rapid Vienna Preview: All to play for as intriguing clash awaits

Villarreal will be hoping for another positive result after their 1-1 draw with Atletico at the weekend
Villarreal will be hoping for another positive result after their 1-1 draw with Atletico at the weekend
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 24 Oct 2018, 16:40 IST
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La Liga side Villarreal will host Rapid Vienna in their UEFA Europa League group stage fixture on Thursday, knowing that a victory is important here after two successive draws against Rangers and Spartak Moscow to start Group G slowly. 

Team news and injury updates

There are set to be five absentees for the hosts - Bruno Soriano and Javi Fuego are both sidelined, joining striker Carlos Bacca and defender Victor Ruiz, who missed their 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid last weekend. 

Chilean midfielder Manuel Iturra, who joined on a free transfer from Malaga once the campaign began, is ineligible to feature in European competition. Bacca and Ruiz are both regulars in this competition, which will force manager Javier Calleja to perform more rotations than usual on this occasion. 

Bacca has proven himself a valuable attacking figure for club and country - but will not feature here
Bacca has proven himself a valuable attacking figure for club and country - but will not feature here

Thankfully, he can count on Argentine midfielder Santiago Cáseres (knee) who made his first-team return against Atletico and could feature here. 

What about Thursday's Austrian visitors?

Vienna meanwhile, come into this game directly after a 3-0 away league defeat by Hartberg - which left them level on points with 12 after 11 fixtures, halfway down the relegation group in ninth place. 

They'll be hoping for an immediate reaction against a similarly inconsistent Villarreal side, especially after beating Spartak 2-0 to kick off a wide-open Europa League group. 

It'll be interesting to see who - if either - manages to prevail here. Rapid are winless in eight visits to Spanish opposition (drawn three, lost five), while Villarreal are unbeaten against Austrian sides. Bacca's presence in attack will be missed, but with the likes of Gerard Moreno and Karl-Toko Ekambi, the hosts should feel quietly confident about earning all three points. 

Published 24 Oct 2018, 16:40 IST
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