Madrid (AFP) – “We’ve overwhelmed the most effective groups on the planet,” mentioned captain Dani Parejo after Villarreal secured a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich within the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final final week. However he is aware of it won’t be sufficient.
Villarreal loved one of many best nights within the membership’s historical past with an excellent efficiency at La Ceramica that caught the six-time European champions chilly.
Unai Emery’s aspect will take a one-goal lead into Tuesday’s second leg in Germany, but the overriding feeling was remorse as a sequence of missed possibilities stored Bayern alive.
“We produced an incredible efficiency and if we’re sincere we should always have received by extra,” mentioned Villarreal midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.
As a substitute, a one-goal deficit is much from insurmountable for a crew that has scored 17 targets of their final 5 video games at house and 20 of their final 4 European matches on the Allianz Enviornment.
Villarreal have made a behavior of neutralising glamorous opponents, even when their La Liga place of seventh reveals they will wrestle in opposition to modest opposition.
Whereas Emery’s forensic evaluation and in-depth video periods may stifle the spontaneity wanted to beat restricted sides, it means his crew are tactically astute and troublesome to interrupt down.
Up to now yr, Villarreal have overwhelmed the Europa League champions, the Coppa Italia winners, the Bundesliga champions and the FA Cup winners. Additionally they defeated Manchester United to win final season’s Europa League.
In Spain, they’re unbeaten this season in opposition to defending champions Atletico Madrid and leaders Actual Madrid.
After the gorgeous 3-0 victory in Turin that knocked out Juventus within the final 16, Villarreal will consider they will full the job in Germany and attain the membership’s first Champions League semi-final since 2006.
Win or lose in Munich, the win in opposition to Bayern within the house leg will go down within the Villarreal historical past books.
– ‘Greatest problem’ –
Whereas Bayern had been profitable a 3rd consecutive European Cup in 1976, Villarreal had been being relegated to the fourth tier in Spain. When Bayern received their fifth in 2013, Villarreal had simply been promoted again to the highest flight.
The inhabitants of Vila-real, at simply over 50,000, might match inside Bayern’s stadium with 25,000 seats to spare. No smaller city has produced a crew to win a European title.
For almost all of their historical past Villarreal lay within the third division till Spanish billionaire Fernando Roig took over in 1998.
Roig has improved the stadium, the coaching floor and the crew. Villarreal signed gamers equivalent to Riquelme, Diego Forlan, Marcos Senna and Santi Cazorla.
They’ve been a fixture within the high flight for all however one of many 22 seasons this century.
With stability secured, Emery was employed to take the crew to the subsequent degree, problem for trophies and La Liga’s high 4.
They’ve disillusioned within the league however cup success has stored Emery’s inventory excessive. He was tempted by the Newcastle job in November however turned it down, the prospect of a European run too tantalising.
Related reasoning stored local-born star defender Pau Torres on the membership he joined as a five-year-old, regardless of curiosity final summer time from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.
The one query now could be whether or not the momentous win over Bayern Munich might be remembered as the top of an unbelievable run, or the idea for one thing extra.
“Tuesday would be the greatest problem of my profession as coach,” Emery mentioned. “And for the membership as properly, for the gamers, for plenty of individuals right here.”