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Kiryat Shmona and Athletic meet again

Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC and Athletic Club are competing for third place when they meet in a rearranged Group I fixture after being eliminated from the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Kiryat Shmona fans
Kiryat Shmona fans ©Getty Images

Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC and Athletic Club are playing for pride when they meet in this rearranged Group I fixture.

• A draw between AC Sparta Praha and Olympique Lyonnais in the other Group I fixture on Thursday eliminated both the Israeli side and last season's beaten UEFA Europa League finalists.

• The game was scheduled to be played on Thursday 22 November but was postponed following a meeting of the UEFA Emergency Panel due to the security situation in Israel.

Previous meetings
• The clubs drew 1-1 as they met for the first time on matchday one, Markel Susaeta cancelling out Adrian Rochet's opener for Kiryat Shmona before half-time. It was Athletic's first game against Israeli opponents, and Israeli champions Kiryat Shmona's first encounter with a Spanish side.

• The 16 games between Spanish and Israeli teams in UEFA club competition have ended overwhelmingly in the Spanish sides' favour: W11 D4 L1 (W6 D2 L1 in Spain – W5 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
• Kiryat Shmona have not won in three UEFA home games (D2 L1) since opening their 2012/13 campaign with back-to-back wins.

• No side has kept a clean sheet against Kiryat Shmona at home in Europe in seven attempts.

• Athletic have lost five of their last six European away games, drawing the other (with that run including their 3-0 defeat to Club Atlético de Madrid in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League final, in which they were the nominal away team).

Team facts
• Kiryat Shmona are the brightest starters in the competition, with three of their six group stage goals coming in the first 15 minutes of their games.

• 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.

• Kiryat Shmona changed coaches on the eve of matchday two, with Gili Landau standing aside after just over three months in charge, to be replaced by his assistant Barak Bakhar. The former defender, who only turned 33 in September, played for the club from 2004 to 2011, and this is his first senior coaching appointment.

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