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Athletic in Anderlecht's sights

The slight advantage lies with RSC Anderlecht as they prepare to host Athletic Club, although they will need to be wary after the Spanish club's last visit to Belgium.

Athletic in Anderlecht's sights
Athletic in Anderlecht's sights ©UEFA.com

RSC Anderlecht have everything to play for as Athletic Club return to Belgium for their UEFA Europa League round of 32 decider, having won 7-1 in their last competitive game on Belgian soil.

• The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw; Lucas Biglia put the visitors ahead on 35 minutes, but Mikel San José levelled (58) to leave the tie balanced on a knife-edge.

Previous meetings
• The first leg was the clubs' first 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 eight games against Belgian opposition, their record reading: W4 D3 L1 (W2 D1 L1 in Belgium). 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 22 games against Spanish sides, with the record W9 D2 L11 (W7 D0 L3 at home, with those defeats coming in the three most recent games).

Match background
• Athletic are playing their first spring European fixtures 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.

• 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.

• Anderlecht have won just one of their last four European home matches.

• Athletic have lost only once in five UEFA Europa League away fixtures this season, including qualifying, and have scored at least once in all those games.

Team facts
• Ariël Jacobs was in charge of Anderlecht for their most recent meeting with a Spanish side prior to the first leg of this tie – 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 11 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 winners of this tie 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.

• Both of Anderlecht's previous UEFA club competition penalty shoot-outs ended in defeat; 4-1 at FC Barcelona in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup and 4-3 to Tottenham Hotspur FC in the 1983/84 UEFA Cup final.

• Athletic have only once faced a penalty shoot-out in Europe, losing 5-3 to CFR 1907 Cluj in the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup second round.

Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: Carlos Gurpegi
Players added to squad: Mikel Santamaria
Players removed from squad: Xabier Etxebarria

Suspended: none
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