Bottom Group A side Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to erase the dubious fact of not scoring a goal yet in the competition on Thursday when they travel to Spain to face group winners Villarreal in the Europa League.
Estadio de la Ceramica, Vila-real, Spain 07 Dec 2017 6:00 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: Villarreal haven't been beaten in their last six European matches running.
Expert Verdict: Villarreal have been great of late at home in European football, and that is just about enough to take them over any team. Against Maccabi Tel Aviv, who have yet to even score a goal in this competition, they will be even bigger favorites to go out and win this final group match.
Javier Calleja will be missing goalkeeper Andres Fernandez, center back Ruben Semedo, defensive midfielder Bruno Soriano, wingers Samu Castillejo and Denis Cherysev, and forwards Nicola Sansone and Carlos Bacca due to injuries.
With an injury to Carlos Bacca now and a loss at the weekend, Villarreal might just be looking to rest Cedric Bakambu and will need to call upon winger Daniel Raba up front. The 22 year old Spaniard scored their lone goal at the weekend and also scored at Astana last time out in this competition, so he looks to be a more than capable replacement when fitness worries arise.
Villarreal have two losses, two wins, and a draw in their last five matches:
3-1 loss at Leganes
3-0 home win vs Ponferradinia (Copa del Rey)
2-3 home loss vs Sevilla
2-3 win at Astana (UEL)
1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao
Defenders:Rukavina, Bonera, Ruiz, Marin
Defensive Midfielders:Trigueros, Hernandez
Attacking Midfielders:Roberto Soriano, Fornals, Sansone
Jordi Cruyff will be missing right back Eli Das and winger Omer Atzili due to injuries.
That elusive goal is proving very, very hard to come by for Maccabi. Their league top scorer Atzili is out, so that makes their search for the moral victory of a goal that much harder here. Striker Vidhar Kjartansson is one of the men most likely to find the net for them. He's scored four times in league action this season, and the Iceland man could be poised to break their dubious record.
Maccabi have two draws, two wins, and a loss in their last five matches:
1-1 home draw vs Ashdod
2-0 home win vs Ironi Kiryat (Cup)
2-2 draw at Hapoel Haifa
0-2 home loss vs Sparta Prague (UEL)
0-1 win at Hapoel Ra'anana
Defenders:Yeini, Tibi, Ben Haim, Davidzada
Midfielders:Battocchio, Peretz, Rikan, Micha
These sides met for the first time back in September when they drew 0-0 in Tel Aviv.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Villarreal are at 3/10 to win, a draw is at 4/1, and a Maccabi Tel Aviv win is at 9/1.
As far as permutations go, this match is very simple. Villarreal are already the group winners and thus will be avoiding the teams that will drop down from the Champions League in the first knockout round. Their opponents Maccabi, who haven't even scored a goal yet, are out of the competition and will finish bottom no matter what.
Villarreal have a total of four points from their two home matches in the UEL so far. Overall, they have a record of six wins, two draws, and just one loss so far this season there. As for Maccabi, they have lost both of their group games away from home, but they won away in all four qualification rounds to get to the group. Overall, their away record this season has seen them wins nine times, draw twice, and lose three times.
No real fitness edge will be had for either team here. Both sides have had midweek matches for three weeks running counting this match, and if anything the Yellow Submarine might edge it just because they rotated in the Copa del Rey.
A no on both teams to score is set at 17/20 via Ladbrokes.
Villarreal have done well to clinch the group ahead of this match, but they still will be massive favorites heading into this match. Maccabi might have gotten their only point off of them, but they won't be getting anymore.