Villarreal will welcome Salzburg to the Estadio de la Ceramica on Thursday for the second leg of their Europa League round-of-32 tie.
Goals in each half from Paco Alcacer and Fer Nino gave the Spaniards a 2-0 victory in the first leg. A penalty miss by Alcacer prevented them from having an even more commanding advantage.
Villarreal qualified for this stage of the competition by virtue of their first-place finish in Group I last year. Salzburg dropped to the Europa League after finishing third in a UEFA Champions League group containing Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.
The two away goals gives Villarreal a massive advantage heading into this return leg. Salzburg will have their work cut out if they are to progress to the next round.
Villarreal vs Salzburg head-to-head
This will be the sixth meeting between the two sides. Villarreal have the advantage, with three wins to their name. Meanwhile, Salzburg were victorious on two occasions in the past. There is yet to be a stalemate between the two teams.
The Spaniards come into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. First-half goals from the high-flying Gerard Moreno and Alex Berengeur ensured that the sides canceled each other out.
That draw means that the Yellow Submarines are without a win in the league since 8 January, a six-game winless run that has seen them drop down the table.
Salzburg, on the other hand, were totally dominant as they thrashed Rapid Vienna 4-2 on home soil. A Patson Daka hattrick inspired Jesse Marsch's side to a convincing victory in a top-of-the-table Austrian Bundesliga clash.
That win made it six consecutive league wins for Red Bull, which helped to solidify their claim for an eighth consecutive league title.
Villarreal form guide (all competitions): D-W-L-D-L
Salzburg form guide (all competitions): W-L-W-W-W
Villarreal vs Salzburg Team News
Manager Unai Emery will be without the services of four players for the visit of Salzburg. Francis Coquelin (ankle), Mario Gasper (muscle), Alberto Moreno and Vicente Iborra (both ACL) will be unavailable for selection.
Injuries: Vicente Iborra, Mario Gasper, Alberto Moreno, Francis Coquelin
The visitors have four first-team players ruled out through injury. Youba Diarra is yet to kick a ball in anger this season, having been ruled out with a cruciate ligament rupture since July 2020. Ousmane Diakite is also a long-term absentee with the same issue.
Left-back Bernardo is out of action with a knee problem. Meanwhile, 20-year-old Noah Okafor recently recovered from COVID-19 only to suffer a torn muscle while warming up on Sunday.
Maximillian Woeber has returned to training after his thigh injury and might be in line for action on Thursday.
Furthermore, Malian players Sekou Keita and Mohamed Camara were handed three-month bans by UEFA on Monday for testing positive to a banned substance.
Injuries: Noah Okafor, Bernardo, Youba Diara, Ousmane Diakite
Doubtful: Maximilian Woeber
Suspended: Sekou Keita, Mohamed Camara
Villarreal vs Salzburg Predicted XI
Villarreal Predicted XI (4-3-3): Sergio Asenjo (GK); Pervis Estupinan, Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, Ruben Pena; Etienne Capoue, Miguel Trigueros, Dani Parejo; Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcacer, Samuel Chukwueze
Red Bull Salzburg Predicted XI (4-3-2): Cican Stankovic (GK); Andreas Ulmer, Oumar Solet, Albert Vallci, Rasmus Kristensen; Enock Mwepu, Zlatko Junuzovic, Antoine Bernede; Mergim Berisha, Patson Daka, Brenden Aaronson
Villarreal vs Salzburg Prediction
Salzburg have a natural tendency to attack. Their thirst for goals could leave plenty of space for the likes of Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze to exploit.
Villarreal have more proven and experienced players at this stage of the competition. While the Austrian champions could pose their defense some trouble, the hosts will likely pick up another win on home soil.
Prediction: Villarreal 2-1 Salzburg