However, the home side welcome the Spanish outfit to the Bloomfield Stadium with the opportunity to move level on points with the leaders of Group I.
When Unai Emery was handed the reins at Villarreal, he would have viewed the job as the perfect opportunity to rebuild a dented reputation on the continent.
Within the space of a few months, the former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal boss will feel that he has made huge strides in achieving that goal, losing just one of his opening 12 matches in charge.
In their latest outing, Villarreal recorded a 1-1 draw at home to La Liga champions Real Madrid, a result which has kept the Yellow Submarine in third position in the standings.
Although Emery has taken the chance to rotate his squad on the European front, 12 goals have been scored from their three fixtures against Sivasspor, Qarabag FK and Maccabi.
The dozen strikes have been shared among seven players, highlighting the strength in depth which Emery has at his disposal as he bids to win this competition for the fourth time.
From Maccabi's perspective, they will be motivated to atone for the 4-0 drubbing which they received at Estadio de la Ceramica earlier this month.
Giorgos Donis's side did not do themselves justice as they failed to build on their previous triumphs, and it has left the Israeli side looking over their shoulders to third-placed Sivasspor.
Since that setback, hard-fought wins have been recorded over Bnei Sakhnin and Hapoel Hadara, moving the club into sixth position in the domestic standings.
However, Maccabi have now gone 12 matches without scoring more than twice in a game, something which Donis will want to change during an important few weeks for the club.
Maccabi Tel Aviv Europa League form: WWL
Maccabi Tel Aviv form (all competitions): DWDLWW
Villarreal Europa League form: WWW
Villarreal form (all competitions): DWWWWD
Emery will almost certainly hand recalls to many of the players who started the reverse fixture.
Donis is expected to make changes in tactics and personnel, potentially going with the team which prevailed at the weekend.
That would see former Blackburn Rovers forward Nick Blackman drop out of the side which suffered defeat in Spain.
Maccabi Tel Aviv possible starting lineup:
Daniel; Yeini, Hernandez, Saborit; Kandil, Ben Chaim, Peretz, Glazer, Piton; Pesic, Cohen
Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Pena, Foyth, Mori, Costa; Baena, Iborra, Parejo; Kubo, Bacca, Pino
We say: Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-2 Villarreal
Despite their capitulation before the November international break, we expect a far stronger showing from Maccabi on Thursday night. Nevertheless, Emery will want qualification done and dusted as soon as possible, and the visitors could edge a hard-fought encounter.
Top betting tip
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