Bayer 04 Leverkusen can welcome back both striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and head coach Roger Schmidt when they tackle Villarreal CF away in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 16 tie on Thursday (kick-off 21:05CET/20:05GMT).

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'Chicharito' was suspended for Die Werkself's dramatic 3-3 draw with FC Augsburg at the weekend and will be a welcome sight in attack while fellow striker Stefan Kießling should also be available after overcoming a hip complaint. Meanwhile, Schmidt returns to the touchline for the first time following his three-match domestic ban.

Leverkusen have not been in great form of late, taking just one point from their last four league outings, although they can take heart from beating Sporting Clube de Portugal 4-1 on aggregate in the previous round of this competition. This is likely to be a much tougher test, however, as Villarreal are currently fourth in La Liga, boast a formidable home record and knocked out last season's semi-finalists SSC Napoli in the last round.

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Match stats

  • Villarreal have won and kept a clean sheet in each of their four home games in the UEFA Europa League this season.
  • These sides have only met twice before, with the Spanish side winning both matches in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League Round of 16.
  • Bayer's victory away to Sporting in the last round was their first victory on the road in the competition this term.
  • 'Chicharito' scored five goals in this season's UEFA Champions League, but is yet to register in the UEFA Europa League.
  • Villarreal were only knocked out of last season's UEFA Europa League by eventual winners Sevilla FC.

Possible line-ups

Villarreal: Areola - Mario, Musacchio, Victor Ruiz, Jaume Costa - Pina, Bruno Soriano - Rukavina, Denis Suarez - Soldado, Bakambu

Absentees: Dos Santos (hamstring), Samu (foot)

Leverkusen: Leno - Boenisch, Jedvaj, Ramahlo, Wendell - Brandt, Kramer, Calhanoglu, Bellarabi - Hernandez, Mehmedi

Absentees: Kampl (broken leg), Papadopoulos (knee), Toprak (groin), Bender (thigh)