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Villarreal CF have taken a big step toward a first UEFA Champions League semifinal appearance since 2005-06 thanks to Arnaut Danjuma's early strike at Estadio de la Ceramica which was enough to secure a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich ahead of next week's return leg in Germany.

The Spaniards were good value for their win and will feel disappointed that they only have one goal to show for such an impressive display after Francis Coquelin had what would have been a second ruled out much to the relief of Manuel Neuer in the visiting goal.

Gerard Moreno hit the post while Alphonso Davies put in a superb block to ensure that El Submarino Amarillo did not score again, but the collective strength shown in the victory will live long in the memory regardless of what happens in Bavaria next week.

In many ways, this is deserved validation of the work Villarreal boss Unai Emery has done since his arrival back in 2020, given that the 50-year-old is somewhat unfairly maligned for his Champions League struggles despite his impressive UEFA Europa League record.

Emery helped the Castellon outfit to their first major silverware with last season's Europa League title over Manchester United and now they can dream of a second UCL semifinal appearance which is something he was unable to do as Paris Saint-Germain boss before moving on to Arsenal.

Back in his homeland, Emery is thriving again and although Villarreal face a fight to qualify for Europe through LaLiga, their continental outings under the former Sevilla and Valencia CF tactician will live on for years once this one is over.

Emery's blueprint for success, notably with Sevilla where he won three consecutive Europa League titles, is to make a team greater than the sum of its parts and like in Andalusia, that approach works extremely well with Villarreal who are perennial underdogs both domestically and on the continent.

Juventus, Atalanta BC and now Bayern have all found out first-hand that the man from Hondarribia is in his element when his team are unfancied and almost given no chance of extracting a result and they managed to achieve that against the Germans through sheer hunger, work rate and strategy.

Ultimately, Villarreal were unable to make their chances count more than once through Danjuma's fortuitous finish but at least they have that as it was no less than deserved for what was an impressive collective display in which almost everybody shone or played a role.

The defense deserves credit with Juan Foyth, Geronimo Rulli and Pervis Estupinan all excellent to preserve a clean sheet behind the solid midfield of Coquelin, Dani Parejo and Etienne Capoue which maximized its experience against a technically superior Bayern.

Getting past Julian Nagelsmann and his players in the second leg remains an extremely tough task but this result and display will have buoyed the Spaniards who will now believe that they call pull off the unthinkable and add to their Juve scalp.

Whether or not they do it, Emery's rejuvenation of Villarreal on the continental stage is something that all around the club will remember for a long time 17 years after they first allowed themselves to dream a reaching the Champions League's final four against the odds under Manuel Pellegrini.