Villarreal largely dominated the first leg in Denmark and were extremely unlucky to record a 1:0 defeat. The Yellow Submarine are now determined to make their superior quality count, whereas Odense will do everything they can to protect the slim lead from the first match.
Villarreal fully focused on this game
Villarreal are slowly becoming one of the giants of Spanish football and nobody is surprised to see the Yellow Submarine finish in top 4 any more. Juan Carlos Garrido’s side easily achieved Champions League qualification, but they probably expected a much easier passage into the group stages. Villarreal were pretty impressive in the first leg in Denmark, seeing they completely outclassed their opponents and created a host of clear-cut chances, but the profligacy in front of goal and one defensive mistake ended up gifting the win to Odense. The players are now determined to make amends for the unlucky defeat and produce another convincing performance and everything suggests they will manage to do so. Besides their obvious superiority over Odense, Villarreal boasts a lot of European experience, whereas the players’ strike that postponed the start of La Liga helped the team fully prepare for this game. Even president Fernando Roig visited the players in training this week to encourage them before this important clash, and that could also have a positive effect.
Apart from long-term worry Angel Lopez, Juan Carlos Garrido has fully fit squad to choose from, with Marcos Senna even closer to full fitness after recovering from injury.
Odense running on empty
Odense have shown a lot of promise at the start of the season and after beating Villarreal in Denmark, they are very close to reaching the Champions League group stages. OB did well to eliminate Panathinaikos in the previous round, especially after narrowly avoiding defeat in the first leg at home, while the Danes were very lucky to beat Villarreal after struggling to match their more illustrious opponents. Henrik Clausen’s side continued with impressive results as they beat Lyngby at the weekend, but the hectic schedule at the start of the season could prove to be a problem at El Madrigal. Unlike their opponents, who have had a full week to prepare for this all-important clash, OB were in action on Saturday, so the players could have tired legs when facing Villarreal, especially as that will be Odense’s ninth game in less than a month.
Full-back Bernard Mendy returns from suspension, meaning that boss Henrik Clausen will have full squad to choose from.
The first match showed that Villarreal are few classes above Odense and we can expect the Yellow Submarine to dominate the return leg from the off. Odense are doing well at the moment, but they are running on empty after playing nine games in less than a month, and I just can’t see them matching very good Villarreal side.
Our prediction: Villarreal with -1 European handicap
Odds: 1.80 (4/5)
Bookmaker: Stan James