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Athletic Club will look to end a 32-year wait for a springtime European victory when they resume their UEFA Europa League campaign at home against an RSC Anderlecht side who have traditionally struggled on Spanish soil.
• The clubs are meeting for the first time in a competitive fixture, although they faced each other in a pre-season friendly in Portugal last summer.
• Athletic fought back to earn a 2-2 draw in that match in Faro on 18 July last year, Óscar de Marcos (29) and Carlos Gurpegi (59) scoring to cancel out early goals by Anderlecht's Matías Suárez (12) and Tom De Sutter (26). Suárez converted the winning spot-kick in Anderlecht's ensuing 4-3 penalty shoot-out success.
• Athletic have played seven games against Belgian opposition, their record reading: W4 D2 L1 (W2 D1 L0 at home). They have won two of their three two-legged ties against Belgian sides and their 7-1 triumph against R. Standard de Liège in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage remains their biggest European away victory.
• Anderlecht have played 21 games against Spanish sides, with the record W9 D1 L11 (W2 D1 L8 away).
• Athletic are playing their first spring European fixture since they lost to FK Austria Wien in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32. They have not won a European game after Christmas since their 1976/77 UEFA Cup campaign, when they reached the final before losing to Juventus on away goals.
• A 3-0 defeat by Werder Bremen on UEFA Europa League Matchday 6 ended a run of three straight European home wins for Joaquín Caparrós's side.
• Anderlecht last reached the UEFA Cup round of 32 in 2007/08, when they overcame FC Girondins de Bordeaux 3-2 on aggregate en route to a round of 16 defeat by FC Bayern München.
• The Brussels club are unbeaten in their last three European away fixtures, a run that includes wins at NK Dinamo Zagreb (2-0) and AFC Ajax (3-1).
• Ariël Jacobs was in charge of Anderlecht for their most recent meeting with a Spanish side – a 2-1 loss at Getafe CF in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Belgium and Spain have met 22 times in senior national competition, kicking off with a 3-1 win for Belgium in the final of the 1920 Olympic tournament in Brussels. Spain have won eleven of those games to Belgium's six, and the Red Devils have not beaten Spain in seven fixtures since winning a 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-final 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Puebla, Mexico.
• Fernando Llorente was the highest scorer in the UEFA Europa League group stage with six goals; LOSC Lille Métropole's Gervinho, Werder Bremen's Claudio Pizarro, CD Nacional's Rúben Micael and FC Basel 1893's Alexander Frei all scored five times.
• Iker Muniain was fouled 22 times in the UEFA Europa League group stage, more than any other player.
• The tie concludes in Brussels on 25 February with the winners to face the victors of the contest between Hamburger SV and PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16 on 11 and 18 March, playing the second leg at home.
Misses next match if booked: Carlos Gurpegi
Players added to squad: Mikel Santamaria
Players removed from squad: Xabier Etxebarria
Suspended: Olivier Deschacht
Misses next match if booked: none
Players added to squad: Daniel Zítka, Mario Roberto Martínez, Lukáš Mareček, Ziguy Badibanga
Players removed from squad: Michael Cordier, Arnold Kruiswijk, Reynaldo, Sébastien Bruzzese
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