Villarreal have some major defensive injury worries ahead of tonight's game with Dutch high-flyers AZ Alkmaar. Captain Quique Alvarez, Juan Manuel Pena and Javi Venta are all ruled out. With Roger Garcia, Sebastian Battaglia and Javier Calleja still abscent, youth team defenders Edu and Carlos Alcantara are set to at least start on the bench.
Diego Forlan is ineligible for the UEFA Cup, but at least Jose Mari grabbed a brace at the weekend against Bilbao and that should do his confidence a lot of good.
Roman Riquelme has highlighted the importance of coming away with a positive result; "Alkmaar are a very good side and we will have to pull out all the stops to beat them. We will be looking to gain some kind of advantage from the home leg. We have been showing consistency and that has boosted confidence levels. On the pitch, you can tell that the team knows exactly what it wants. We need to make sure we come away with something concrete to show for the great season we are having."
Alkmaar lost 4-2 at Feyenoord during the weekend, only their first Eredivisie defeat since August 21. Martijn Meerdink's long-term knee injury means he is the only absentee from their squad, otherwise they are at full strength.
This is a very tough match guys, but I still think Villarreal are too strong at home not to get a positive result in this match. It's a shame Forlan isn't playing, but Villarreal have won all 8 of their Uefa Cup home games this season without him anyway.
Uefa Cup Track Record: P4 W2 W2 L0 GF8 GA2
Rd 32| Dynamo Kyiv 0-2 Villarreal (0-0, 0-2)
Rd 16| Steaua 0-2 Villarreal (0-0, 0-2)
Uefa Cup Track Record: P6 W3 D0 L1 GF6 GA3
Rd 32| Aachen 1-2 Alkmaar (0-0, 1-2)
Rd 16| Shakhtar 2-5 Alkmaar (1-3, 1-2)
Uefa Cup| QF| Thursday, 7 April 2005| 20:45CET| Estadio El Madrigal
Canal Comunitat Valenciana
Villarreal CF 4-2 AZ Alkmaar