Athletic Club will be without Ander Herrera for their opening UEFA Europa League Group I games against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC and AC Sparta Praha after the midfielder had surgery on a long-standing groin complaint.
Herrera underwent the operation for a hernia problem in Munich and is expected to be out of action for six weeks. The 23-year-old has made two Liga appearances this season and also featured in the UEFA Europa League play-off first leg against HJK Helsinki.
The former Real Zaragoza player scored four goals in 54 games in all competitions last term as Athletic reached the UEFA Europa League and Copa del Rey finals. The Bilbao-born central midfielder also represented his country at the London 2012 Olympic football tournament, having been part of the Spain squad that won the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
Athletic begin their Group I campaign at home to Kiryat Shmona on 20 September before travelling to Sparta Praha on 4 October. The Basque side will also face Olympique Lyonnais in the section.
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