Athletic v BATE background

Athletic Club and FC BATE Borisov face each other to decide Group H's UEFA Europa League place, the Spanish club holding a one-point advantage over their opponents.

Denis Polyakov put BATE ahead on matchday two against Atheltic
Denis Polyakov put BATE ahead on matchday two against Atheltic ©AFP/Getty Images

The UEFA Europa League spot in Group H will be decided between Athletic Club and FC BATE Borisov, with the Spanish club a place and a point in front of their opponents ahead of their matchday six meeting in Bilbao.

• BATE's 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture ensured the first UEFA Champions League game at the new Borisov Arena ended in a home success. BATE went in front through Denis Polyakov and Aleksandr Karnitski extended their lead before half-time with Aritz Aduriz reducing the arrears.

• Athletic have four points, one more than BATE, so a point will be enough to secure third place; BATE have to win. 

Match background

Athletic
• The Spanish club had not faced a team from Belarus before matchday two.

• In their sole previous group stage appearance, 1998/99, they finished fourth in their section on six points. They were unbeaten at home with one win and two draws.

• The 2-0 defeat by Porto on matchday four means that Athletic have lost two of their last 17 home European matches, winning eight.

• Mikel San José's goal midway through the second half gave Athletic a win at FC Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday five to lift them into third place.

BATE
• Before matchday two, BATE had lost all eight of their home and away contests with Spanish sides, scoring three goals while conceding 25.

• In three of their four visits to Spain they conceded four goals, most recently in the 2012/13 group stage when they went down 4-2 at Valencia CF. They were the first goals they had scored since the first such fixture when they lost 4-1 at Villarreal CF in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round.

• Having recently claimed the Belarus title for the ninth year in a row, BATE are in the group stage for the fourth time overall and the third time in four seasons.

• In qualifying for this season's group stage, BATE drew 1-1 at KS Skënderbeu in the second qualifying round (1-1 on aggregate), lost 1-0 at Debreceni VSC (3-2 aggregate) in the third qualifying round and drew 1-1 at ŠK Slovan Bratislava (4-1 aggregate) in the play-offs.

• BATE's three previous group stage campaigns, in 2008/09, 2011/12 and 2012/13, all came under former coach Viktor Goncharenko, who left for FC Kuban Krasnodar in October 2013.

• BATE finished third in the group in 2012/13. In the UEFA Europa League they fell in the round of 32, losing to Fenerbahçe SK 1-0 away and by the same aggregate score.

Coach and player links
• Egor Filipenko, Vitali Rodionov and Aleksandr Volodko all appeared as Belarus lost 4-0 to Spain in a FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Dinamo Stadium, Minsk, on 12 October 2012. Aleksandr Pavlovets was an unused substitute.

• Filipenko and Rodionov started in the 2-1 defeat to Vicente del Bosque's side a year later at the Iberostar Estadi in Mallorca; Volodko was an unused substitute. 

• Iker Muniain played in Spain's 3-1 win against Belarus, who included Denis Polyakov, Filipenko and Dmitri Baga, in the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final.

Match facts

Athletic
• Carlos Gurpegi serves a one-game ban on matchday six. Ander Iturraspe and Markel Susaeta are both a yellow card away from suspension.

• Athletic were five games unbeaten in all competitions before a surprise 1-0 defeat by bottom-of-the-table Córdoba CF on Saturday – it was the visitors' first Liga win in over 42 years.

• Iñaki Williams, 20, made his Athletic debut against Córdoba.

• Athletic managed four points in their first seven top-flight games this term, but have picked up 14 in seven since. Ernesto Valverde's side were 18th in the Liga in early October.

• Athletic have conceded just four times in their last seven league games.

• Borja Viguera scored a late equaliser at third-tier CD Alcoyano on 2 December as the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-32 tie ended 1-1.

• Guillermo Fernández (hamstring, since 9 November) and Xabier Etxeita (adductors, 25 November) have both been sidelined.

BATE
• Anri Khagush is available after serving a one-game ban on matchday five. Edgar Olekhnovich is a booking away from a suspension.

• If Dmitri Likhtarovich features against Athletic he will equal Aleksandr Hleb's national record of 92 appearances in UEFA club competition.

• BATE were not in action at the weekend having concluded their domestic campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk on 30 November. That stretched their record unbeaten league run to 31 games; the previous Belarusian top-flight record high of 29 was set by FC Dvina Vitebsk in 1994/95.

• The Belarusian side have this term suffered their heaviest defeats in UEFA competition (home 0-7 v Shakhtar, away 0-6 v Porto).

• BATE clinched their ninth successive league title on 9 November after a 4-0 defeat of FC Naftan Novopolotsk lifted them seven points clear of second-placed FC Dinamo Minsk with two games to play.

• Nikolai Signevich made his international debut on 15 November as Belarus lost 3-0 to Spain in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying. He started the 3-2 victory over Mexico three days later in Borisov. Maksim Volodko made his international debut against Mexico.

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