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Athletic and Sevilla set for titanic tussle

With nothing to separate Sevilla and Athletic in the Liga, Unai Emery reckons a "wonderful tie" is in the offing as the Spanish sides take their rivalry to a new level.

Athletic players train ahead of the first leg
Athletic players train ahead of the first leg ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Sevilla have not won an away game in Europe or the Liga all season
  • Athletic's Aritz Aduriz is the UEFA Europa League's eight-goal top scorer
  • Sevilla looking to become the first side to lift the trophy three years running
  • The Spanish teams, who are level on points in the Liga, meet for the 159th time

Possible lineups
Athletic: Herrerín; De Marcos, Etxeita, Gurpegi, Balenziaga; San José, Beñat; Susaeta, Williams, Aduriz, Muniain.
Out: Raúl García (suspended), Laporte (broken leg), Merino (hamstring)
Doubtful: none
Misses next match if booked: Laporte

Sevilla: Sergio Rico; Coke, Rami, Kolodziejczak, Trémoulinas; N'Zonzi, Krychowiak; Vitolo, Banega, Krohn-Dehli; Gameiro.
Out: Andreolli (Achilles), Daniel Carriço (hamstring)
Doubtful: none
Misses next match if booked
: Banega

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic coach
We've been dreaming about this game all season. I doubt the tie will be decided here, so it's a game for us to enjoy and contest – we can't sit back and defend. We'll go all out for the win, without losing our heads. Sevilla know how to win this competition but we want to make history too. We would love to reach another final.

Unai Emery, Sevilla coach
San Mamés will be buzzing! We are prepared for their intensity and it's going to be a closely contested game, with every ball fought for. The tie is very even, 50/50, if you look at how we are both doing in the league. It's going to be a wonderful tie.

Highlights: Watch Sevilla's 2015 glory
Highlights: Watch Sevilla's 2015 glory

Weekend results
Athletic 1-1 Granada (Iñigo Lekue 28; Peñaranda 77)

Sevilla 1-2 Real Sociedad (Gameiro 51pen; Bergara 2, Krychowiak og 34)

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Athletic: DLLWWW
Sevilla: LLWWDD

Sevilla's away form is a cause for concern
Sevilla's away form is a cause for concern©Getty Images

Reporter's view: Nick Aitken (@UEFAcomNickA)
Unbeaten in seven UEFA Europa League games at San Mamés this season, boasting the competition's eight-goal leading marksman in Aritz Aduriz and up against a Sevilla side yet to win on the road in Europe or the Liga in 2015/16, Athletic Club must be favourites. "They're one of the toughest teams we could have drawn," conceded Sevilla schemer Éver Banega. "It's going to be a cracking tie."

Did you know?
Sevilla are 64-63 ahead of Athletic (with 31 draws) in the teams' 158 competitive encounters in Spanish football. Kevin Gameiro got both goals when Sevilla beat Athletic 2-0 at home in the Liga on 9 January – their sole previous meeting this term. Read more in our match background.