Hertha v Athletic background

Hertha Berlin will look to make it through the group stage for a second time, kicking off their Group J campaign at home against Athletic Club.

Hertha boss Pál Dárdai
Hertha boss Pál Dárdai ©AFP/Getty Images

#EQUALGAME
This week, football fans watching UEFA Europa League matches in stadiums, online and on TV will witness the premiere of the new UEFA RESPECT TV ads, called #EqualGame. The adverts feature Ada Hegerberg, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and amateur players and will run throughout the season to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility in European Football with the motto "Everyone has the right to enjoy football, no matter who you are, where you're from, or how you play." More information on the campaign and on the advertisements can be found in the accompanying media release and on the campaign website: www.equalgame.com.

Hertha Berlin will bid to make it through the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second time, kicking off their Group J campaign at home against Athletic Club.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• In their only previous encounter with Liga opponents, Hertha drew 1-1 at home to Barcelona in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League second group stage, but lost 3-1 at Camp Nou.

• Athletic's ten European matches with German teams have ended W4 D2 L4. They have won their last two games in Germany – 4-2 at Schalke in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and 3-2 at Augsburg in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Form guide
• Hertha are unbeaten in three European home fixtures (W2 D1).

• Athletic are unbeaten in two UEFA away games this season (W1 D1) – against Dinamo București (1-1) and Panathinaikos (3-2).

• Sixth in Germany last term, Hertha got through the UEFA Europa League group stage on their most recent appearance, in 2009/10, but were knocked out in last season's third qualifying round.

• Seventh in Spain last term, Athletic have successfully negotiated the last two UEFA Europa League group stages, and notably were losing finalists in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup and 2011/12 UEFA Europa League.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Bilbao to Berlin is around 1,600km.

• Athletic's Raúl García was a 2009/10 UEFA Europa League winner with Atlético Madrid.

• Athletic's Aritz Aduriz top-scored in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League with ten goals.

• Hertha's Salomon Kalou was a 2011/12 UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea.

The coaches
• Pál Dárdai joined Hertha as a player in 1997 and made a club-record 366 league appearances for Die Alte Dame. He coached Hertha's youth team – and Hungary's senior side – for a time before taking command of the seniors in 2015.

• Better known as 'Cuco', José Ángel Ziganda was a forward for Osasuna and Athletic Club, and later took Osasuna to the 2006/07 UEFA Cup semi-finals as a coach. He was handed the Athletic reins in May 2017 after a six-year spell as B team boss.