Athletic Club find themselves unexpectedly propping up Group F as they welcome frontrunners Genk on matchday four, a game in which Raúl García can reach a UEFA milestone.
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Two-time UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League finalists Athletic Club find themselves unexpectedly propping up Group F as they welcome leaders Genk on matchday four.
• Athletic's ten encounters with Belgian opposition have ended W4 D3 L3 (W2 D2 in Bilbao). Those results include a 7-1 success at Standard Liège in December 2004 – still Athletic's biggest European away victory.
• Genk broke their duck against Spanish opponents on matchday three; their record in seven meetings with Spanish sides is now W1 D4 L2. Those defeats constitute a 6-0 loss at Real Madrid in 2002 and a 7-0 thrashing at Valencia in 2011 – their worst European results.
• Athletic have scored once in each of their four European home games in 2016, those four goals netting them two wins, a draw and a defeat.
• Genk have registered twice in each of their last three UEFA away matches – a win, a draw and a defeat.
• 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.
• Genk have successfully negotiated both of their previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Genk to Bilbao is around 1,050km.
• Athletic's Raúl García could make his 100th UEFA club competition appearance on matchday four. Team-mate Iker Muniain made his 50th UEFA club competition outing in the reverse fixture.
• Athletic midfielder Mikel Rico turns 32 the day after the game.
• Genk's Leon Bailey is one of seven players topping the 2016/17 group stage scorers' chart with three goals along with Giuliano (Zenit), Nikola Kalinić (Fiorentina), Joãozinho (Krasnodar), Guillaume Hoarau (Young Boys), Aleksandar Kokorin (Zenit) and Khouma Babacar (Fiorentina).
• 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.
• 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.
• Genk's Peter Maes was appointed 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.