Preview: Athletic v BATE Borisov

A UEFA Europa League spot is the goal as Athletic Club host an FC BATE Borisov side that Ernesto Valverde says brought out the worst in his team back in September.

Ernesto Valverde is looking onwards and upwards at Athletic
Ernesto Valverde is looking onwards and upwards at Athletic ©AFP/Getty Images

Athletic need a point to seal third; lose and BATE will leapfrog them
If Athletic score, BATE will set a new record for most group stage goals conceded
After eight losses, BATE's 2-1 home victory v Athletic was their first against Spanish sides
Dmitri Likhtarovich could equal Aleksandr Hleb's Belarus record of 92 UEFA club games
Athletic lost to bottom team Córdoba on Saturday, the visitors' first Liga win in 42 years

Permutations: Athletic Club (4pts) v BATE (3)
Athletic will finish third if they avoid defeat.
BATE must win to pip Athletic to the UEFA Europa League.

Possible lineups
Athletic Club: Iraizoz; De Marcos, Laporte, San José, Balenziaga; Mikel Rico, Iturraspe, Muniain, Susaeta, Ibai; Viguera.
• Out: Etxeita (groin), Gurpegi (suspended), Beñat (groin)
• Doubtful: Aduriz (hamstring), Guillermo (nose)

BATE: Chernik; Khagush, Tubić, Filipenko, M Volodko; A Volodko, Yablonski; Karnitski, Baga, Gordeychuk; Rodionov.
• Out: Mladenović, Pavlov, Polyakov (all unspecified)

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic coach
We anticipate a tough game, like in the reverse fixture. BATE can only extend their European campaign if they win. A draw is enough for us but victory would get us a better draw for the Europa League.

Denis Polyakov after putting BATE 1-0 up in September
Denis Polyakov after putting BATE 1-0 up in September©AFP/Getty Images

BATE have suffered some heavy defeats and conceded a lot of goals, but I've seen the games. Porto and Shakhtar have great strikers and have been successful, but that does not mean it is easy [against BATE].

The Europa League has many attractions, but it is attractive only if we qualify. I don't doubt my team's motivation. We waited a long time for the UEFA Champions League to return to Bilbao and now we are here, we have to savour it.

Our worst game in the Champions League came against BATE; they were very good and we were not. We know they are tough opponents. If we start thinking that they have shipped a lot of goals, we'll start thinking that they are worse than us ... and then we will lose.

Aleksandr Yermakovich, BATE coach
It's going to be a difficult, complicated game and we will not be attacking from the outset. Our win against Athletic in the reverse fixture was no real surprise as we knew we could achieve victory with a great display, with every player performing at the highest level. We had success and luck, and our victory was deserved.

Weekend results
Athletic 0-1 Córdoba CF (Ghilas 23)
BATE: no game 

Form guide (all competitions)
Athletic: LDWWWD
BATE: DLWWLW

Match facts
• Whose national record of 92 UEFA club competition appearances will Dmitri Likhtarovich equal if he features against Athletic? Find out in our match background

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