In-form la liga side Villarreal CF go into their UEFA Cup Round of 32 second leg tie against FC Dynamo Kyiv on Thursday knowing a repeat of their remarkable recent home form will see them through to the next stage of the competition.
An added-time winner from Juan Pablo Sorín saw Manuel Luis Pellegrini's side recover from 2-0 down to defeat Club Atlético de Madrid 3-2 on Sunday. It was their fifth home win in succession, a run which has put them firmly in contention for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.
Although the Spanish club are favourites to qualify following their goalless draw in the first leg in the Ukraine last week, José Mari Romero believes the tie is far from over. "We are expecting a tough match because Kyiv have shown that they are a great side," the Villarreal striker said. "We must give our all and play some decent football, like we have been doing up until now. I was impressed by Dynamo, they have three or four top-quality players."
Luciano Figueroa, Juan Manuel Peña and Gonzalo Rodríguez are all fit again and could feature for Villarreal on Thursday, although Sebastián Battaglia remains on the absent list with a knee injury. Josico and Roger García (knee) also miss out.
A total of 24 eligible Dynamo players flew to Spain on Saturday ahead of the match, with playmaker Valentin Belkevich and centre-back Goran Gavrancic both back in full training after flu. Dynamo coach Valeriy Zuev has earmarked set pieces as a potential avenue to exploit in Spain, saying: "We have been working very hard on our set-piece situations and especially penalties. We don't normally practice penalties but the players have been staying behind after training to work on them."
Romanian midfield player Florin Cernat concedes Dynamo face a tricky task if they are to reach the last 16, saying: "Villarreal are in very good form and their latest match is proof of that. Coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 is not a feat that any old side can do, that is why it will be twice as hard in Spain as it was in Kiev. However, we are going there to win, and to do that we must keep our focus on our opponents."
Uefa Cup Track Record: P4 W2 W2 L0 GF8 GA2
Uefa Champions League Track Record: P6 W3 D1 L2 GF11 GA8
*Last domestic action took place before the Winter break.
Uefa Cup| Thursday, 24 February 2005| 20:30 GMT| Estadio El Madrigal.
Canal Comunitat Valenciana