Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
Villarreal will look to make a flying start to their Conference League campaign when they take on Lech Poznan at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia on Thursday. The Yellow Submarine proved their worth in a 4-0 crushing of Elche, and they are seen as favourites to beat Lech Poznan in yet another home fixture as well. As always, a man to watch in the home team will be Gerard Moreno, who has netted two goals in the new La Liga campaign, while all Alberto Moreo, Danjuma, and Foyth should miss out through injuries.
Lech Poznan, on the other hand, booked their place in the Conference League group stages by beating Dudelange in the double-header. The Polish outfit, though, will have a mountain to climb in Thursday’s clash as Villarreal have turned their Estadi Ciutat de Valencia into a real fortress. Midfielder Filip Marchwinski, who limped off with injury in a 2-0 loss to Widzew Lodz, is unlikely to feature against the La Liga outfit.
Highlighted Player (Aissa Mandi):
Aissa Mandi is a product of Reims’ youth school. After playing eight matches for Reims II in the 2009/2010 season, he started playing for the first team in 2010. Mandi made his Reims debut against Le Havre on 20 August, 2010 and he remained at Stade Auguste Delaune until 30 June, 2016, when he decided to join Spanish side Real Betis.
The Algeria international, who was born in Chalons-en-Champagne, France, signed a five-year contract with los Beticos which expires on 30 June, 2021. His main position is centre back, but he is capable of playing as a full back as well. The right-footed defender made his Algeria debut on 5 March, 2014 and he helped the Algerian national team keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Slovenia.
Mandi impressed at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but he scored his first goal for Algeria in a 3-3 draw with Ethiopia in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. He represented Algeria at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as well.
Highlighted Team (Lech Poznan):
Founded on March 19, 1922, Lech Poznan are a Polish club that compete in Ekstraklasa. The Kolejorz (the Railwayman) made their debut in the Polish elite division in 1948, with the team recording a 4-3 win over Widzew Lodz.
Lech play home matches in blue jerseys and white shorts, while white is the dominant colour of their away kit. Stadion Miejski is the club’s home ground. Opened on August 23, 1980, the venue can hold up to 43,269 spectators. Lech Poznan won their first domestic championship in the 1982/83 season, with the team defending the trophy the following season. In the 2014/15 Lech clinched their last (seventh) league title.
The Kolejorz made their debut in the Champions League (former European Cup) in the 1983/84 season, with the team suffering elimination to Athletic Bilbao (2-4 on agg). Legia Warsaw are regarded as the club’s biggest rivals, with the two teams facing each other in the Derby of Poland.