After enduring three consecutive winless games in La Liga, Villarreal are hoping to make a winning return in the Europa League on Thursday against Rennes. A win is crucial to avoid falling behind in the initial struggle for the top two spots in the group. The 2-0 defeat to Panathinaikos has increased the importance of the upcoming match against the French side.
In preparation for the tie, Villarreal coach Pacheta has taken a cautious approach, keeping several players in reserve. However, this decision has somewhat limited his options to make desperate changes to his team’s dynamics; Villarreal have only managed a victory in their game against lowly Almería, which was his first game in charge. And even then, they left it late to win the game thanks to a 94th minute goal by striker Alexander Sørloth.
Rennes secured a 3-0 victory against Maccabi Haifa in their first Europa League game of the campaign, and they are currently unbeaten in Ligue 1, so they’ll be coming into Thursday’s tie full of confidence.
Jake Staniland | GSFN