Genk v Athletic background
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
In-form Leon Bailey and an encouraging home record against Spanish sides will give Genk some hope as they welcome two-time finalists Athletic on matchday three.
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Genk can take some comfort from their home record against Spanish sides (and prepare themselves for the worst in the return fixture) as they welcome Athletic Club in UEFA Europa League Group F.
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Genk are yet to win in six meetings with Spanish clubs (D4 L2 – D3 at home), those defeats constituting a 6-0 loss at Real Madrid in 2002 and a 7-0 thrashing at Valencia in 2011 – their worst ever European results.
• Athletic's nine encounters with Belgian opposition have ended W4 D3 L2 (W2 D1 L2 in Belgium). Those results include a 7-1 success at Standard Liège in 2004 – still Athletic's biggest European away victory.
• Genk have won all four of their European home matches this term, conceding for the first time in the 3-1 triumph over Sassuolo on matchday two.
• Genk have successfully negotiated both of their previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.
• Athletic have won four of their last six UEFA away fixtures.
• Losing finalists in 1977 and 2012, Athletic have made it through four of their preceding five UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Bilbao to Genk is around 1,050km.
• Krasnodar's Joãozinho, Genk's Leon Bailey and Zenit's Aleksandr Kokorin are the top scorers in the group stage with three goals each.
• Athletic's Iker Muniain can make his 50th UEFA club competition appearance in this game.
• Genk boast Spanish talent in the form of midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo, who played for home-town club Real Betis, Swansea City and Rayo Vallecano before heading to Belgium in 2015.
• Genk's Peter Maes was appointed to the helm in 2015, having guided Lokeren to two Belgian Cup successes. The highest-profile campaigns of his playing days were spent as second-choice goalkeeper at Anderlecht.
• Ernesto Valverde took charge of Athletic for a second time in June 2013, having led his old club from 2003 to 2005. The former forward later steered Espanyol to the 2007 UEFA Cup final, landed three Greek titles with Olympiacos and coached Villarreal and Valencia.
• Valverde has won 36 UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League matches as a coach, putting him equal seventh in the competition's rankings. He will draw level with the late Sir Bobby Robson in sixth with another victory.