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Athletic v Augsburg background

Losing finalists in 2012, Athletic Club return to the UEFA Europa League to witness German upstarts Augsburg's first game in European competition.

Athletic Club are awaiting lift-off in Group L
Athletic Club are awaiting lift-off in Group L ©Getty Images

Athletic Club return to UEFA Europa League action facing something of an unknown quantity, German side FC Augsburg making their continental debut in the Group L match in Bilbao.

Previous meetings
• The sides have never met before.

• Athletic's record in eight games against German sides is W2 D2 L4 (W1 D2 L1 in Bilbao – W1 D0 L3 in Germany).

Form guide
• Athletic have won both of their European home games this season without conceding.

• Losing finalists in 2012, Athletic made it through to the round of 32 in their first two UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, but fell short in their most recent one, in 2012/13.

• This is Augsburg's first European game; founded in 1907, they secured a fifth-placed finish in Germany last season to qualify directly for the UEFA Europa League group stage. They are the only side who are making their continental debut on matchday one.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Augsburg to Bilbao is just over 1,200km.

• Augsburg's Swiss goalkeeper Marwin Hitz celebrates his 28th birthday the day after the Athletic game.

• Augsburg goalkeeper Alexander Manninger was briefly on the books of a Spanish club, RCD Espanyol, in 2002.

• Other Augsburg players with Spanish experience are: Daniel Opare (Real Madrid Castilla), Piotr Trochowski (Sevilla FC).

The coaches
• Ernesto Valverde took charge at Athletic for a second time in 2013. As a player, he spent the most stable period of his career in Bilbao, and returned to the club after retiring, later taking charge from 2003-05. Since then, he has won three Greek titles with Olympiacos FC and coached Villarreal CF and Valencia FC.

• Ausgburg coach Markus Weinzierl's playing career peaked when he spent a season with the first-team squad at FC Bayern München, though he never played a senior game. Augsburg hired him as coach in 2012 following a spell at SSV Jahn Regensburg, and he thrived, last season's fifth-place finish a club best.

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