LFP World Challenge preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Villarreal CF

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A lot has changed in the past 28 days since the last time Brisbane took the field on the Gold Coast in Matchday 6 of the AFC Champions League, with a new manager installed in John Aloisi, changes to the front office including the departures of the GM and the Director of Football, and the departure of a handful of players including Andrija Kaluderovic and Adam Sarota.

With the off-season now in full flow this game provides the Brisbane players the chance to test themselves against European opposition, however with new head coach John Aloisi in the stands there’s an opportunity to impress the new boss before the officially takes over towards the end of the month.

For this particular game, it’s likely that many of Brisbane’s senior players will be sitting out, with Jerome Polenz and Jade North both out while Shane Stefanutto and Luke DeVere are likely to be limited to just 45 minutes of action. Michael Theo and Henrique, who ended the season on the injury table are also unlikely to feature, which could open the way for some of Brisbane’s talented younger brigade who made debut’s late in the season to get another chance.

Brisbane Roar squad
1) Michael Theo, 2) Jerome Polenz, 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 8) Steven Lustica, 10) Henrique Silva, 12) Jean Carlos Solórzano, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 15) James Donachie, 16) Devante Clut, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Luke Brattan, 19) Jack Hingert, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 26) Lachlan Jackson, 28) Brandon Borrello, 29) Patrick Theodore, 31) Matthew Schmidt, 33) Luke DeVere, 34) Shannon Brady, 36) Fraser Chalmers, 37) Abrahim Yango, 41, Luke Pavlou.
Manager: Frans Thijssen.

Villarreal meanwhile have brought a number of internationals with them on this two game post-season tour of Australia, including Mexican duo Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos; both of whom came through the Barcelona development system. Other players to watch include midfielder Bruno Soriano, who is the club captain and Argentine striker Luciano Vietto who scored 12 goals this season.

Villarreal CF squad
2) Mario Gaspar, 4) Tomas Pina, 6) Jonathan Dos Santos, 7) Luciano Vietto, 9) Giovani Dos Santos, 14) Manuel Trigueros, 15) Victor Ruiz, 16) Jose Antonio Dorado, 17) Denis Cheryshev, 18, Jaume Costa, 19) Moises Gomez, 21) Bruno Soriano, 22) Antonio Rukavina, 23) Gerard Moreno, 25) Juan Carlos (GK), 26) Sergio Marcos,  31) Aitor Fernandez (GK).
Manager: Marcelino Garcia.

Villarreal haven’t been the most successful side over their history, with only the one second placed finish in the top tier of Spanish football since their inception as a club back in 1947. They have however won the second division –or Segunda- on three occasions, most recently in the 2012-13 season.

This past decade or so since 2000 has been without doubt their most successful period, with two Segunda titles, in addition to regular appearances in the UEFA Champions Leagues. The high point of their participation in Europe’s top club competition came in 2005-06 where they made it all the way to the semi-finals, before losing out to eventual runners up Arsenal. They have also made it to two Europa League semi-finals in the past decade, most recently in 2010-11 when they lost to FC Porto.

Brisbane’s record in these international friendlies has been up and down, with a couple of wins in the earlier years against lesser opposition before the competition got tougher with Brisbane losing to Everton back in 2010. All up in these games, Brisbane have two wins from four games, with another game upcoming in this off-season against Liverpool next month.

Brisbane’s record in international friendlies
01/07/2007: Queensland Roar (4) – (1) Supersport United
12/07/2008: Queensland Roar (3) – (1) Palmeiras B
12/07/2009: Brisbane Roar (0) – (3) Celtic FC
17/07/2010: Brisbane Roar (1) – (2) Everton FC

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