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Athletic seek smooth start against Kiryat Shmona

Published: Friday 7 September 2012, 10.05CET
Runners-up last term, Athletic Club will hope debutants Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC provide a straightforward start in Group I as the Spanish side seek to go one better this time round.
Athletic seek smooth start against Kiryat Shmona
Coach Marcelo Bielsa reached the final with Athletic Club last season ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

AthleticH. Kiryat Shmona

Goals scored7
 
6
Attempts on target39
 
18
Attempts off target37
 
20
Corners50
 
17
Offsides22
 
19
Fouls committed69
 
66
Yellow cards13
 
17
Red Cards0
 
0

Media services

Standings

Last updated: 23/09/2012 05:17 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Friday 7 September 2012, 10.05CET

Athletic seek smooth start against Kiryat Shmona

Runners-up last term, Athletic Club will hope debutants Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC provide a straightforward start in Group I as the Spanish side seek to go one better this time round.

Beaten finalists last season, Athletic Club will hope for a gentle reintroduction to the UEFA Europa League group stage against Group I greenhorns Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC.

Previous meetings
• The clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition, and this is also Athletic's first game against Israeli opponents, and Israeli champions Kiryat Shmona's first encounter with a Spanish side.

• The 14 games between Spanish and Israeli teams in UEFA club competition have ended overwhelmingly in the Spanish sides' favour: W10 D3 L1 (W6 D1 L1 in Spain – W4 D2 L0 away, including one match played in Rotterdam due to security concerns in Israel).

• That sole Israeli victory saw Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC win 2-1 at Getafe CF in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage.

Match background
• Athletic enter their fourth group stage in this competition with a 100% record: they have qualified for the knockout phase in each of their three previous appearances.

• Athletic have won both of their home games in Europe this season, and are unbeaten in 11 European matches at San Mamés (seven wins and four draws) since going down 3-0 to SV Werder Bremen in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Kiryat Shmona are making their debut in a UEFA group stage in what is only their second continental campaign.

• The Israeli champions are without a win in four European away games (two draws and two defeats) since beating FK Mogren 3-0 on their first UEFA trip abroad in the first qualifying round of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup.

Team facts 
• Club Atlético de Madrid, the side that beat Athletic in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League final, also start their group stage campaign against Israeli opponents, visiting Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.

• Kiryat Shmona midfielder Ehud Maaravi turns 20 on the eve of the match.

• Athletic coach Marcelo Bielsa was a midfielder in his native Argentina, initially with CA Newell's Old Boys, the club where he started his coaching career. Briefly boss of RCD Espanyol in 1998, the studious Bielsa was in charge of Argentina (1998-04) and Chile (2007-11) before coming to Bilbao, where he reached the finals of the Copa del Rey and UEFA Europa League in his first season.

• Gili Landau is coach of Kiryat Shmona. He represented Hapoel Tel-Aviv for his entire playing career as a striker, winning three Israeli titles and a State Cup from 1975-90, as well as six caps for his country. He coached his old club briefly in 2004, and left Hapoel Petach-Tikva FC to replace Ran Ben Shimon as coach of champions Kiryat Shmona in May 2012.

Last updated: 17/09/12 16.43CET

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