Athletic Club are poised to reach the round of 16 after taking control of their tie with Spartak Moskva thanks to a 3-1 win in Russia – the Basque club's fourth consecutive victory.
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Athletic Club stand poised to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16 as they host reigning Russian champions Spartak Moskva armed with a 3-1 first-leg lead from Moscow, their fourth successive victory in the competition.
• Spartak crossed over from the UEFA Champions League after finishing third in a section headed by Liverpool, while Athletic came through as winners of Group I, above Östersund on the head-to-head rule, despite failing to register a victory in any of their opening three fixtures.
• UEFA Europa League scoring specialist Aritz Aduriz was once again Athletic's star in Moscow, notching his sixth and seventh goals of this season's campaign – taking his tally to 25 in the competition overall – to put his team 2-0 up before an Ilya Kutepov own goal gave the visitors a comfortable half-time lead. Luiz Adriano pulled one back on the hour for Spartak.
• Athletic have hosted Russian clubs on two occasions in the past and won both matches without conceding. Most recently they overcame Spartak's city rivals Lokomotiv in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32 with a 1-0 win in Bilbao that sent them through on away goals after a 2-1 defeat in Moscow. Iker Muniain scored both Athletic goals in the tie.
• Spartak have faced Spanish opposition on 29 occasions with the record W8 D6 L15 (W4 D0 L10 away). They have already taken on a Liga club this season, beating Sevilla 5-1 in Moscow on matchday three – their biggest UEFA Champions League win – before losing the return 2-1 a fortnight later in Andalusia.
• Athletic's last nine European home games have yielded eight wins, the sole exception a 1-0 defeat by Zorya Luhansk in this season's group stage. Their record at home in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 is W2 D2 L1.
• Athletic are competing in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the fourth successive season and the sixth time in all. They have made further progress on just two of their five previous attempts, losing 4-3 on aggregate to APOEL of Cyprus 12 months ago (3-2 home, 0-2 away).
• Spartak's most recent European away fixture resulted in their heaviest defeat in UEFA competition as they went down 7-0 to Liverpool at Anfield on UEFA Champions League matchday six. They have not won a competitive fixture outside Russia in 11 attempts (D5 L6), since a 1-0 victory at Ajax in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16.
• That 2010/11 campaign, in which they overcame Basel 4-3 on aggregate in the round of 32 thanks to a 3-2 win in Switzerland, is Spartak's only previous experience of the UEFA Europa League knockout phase – when they also transferred from the UEFA Champions League – but they were round of 32 participants two seasons running in the UEFA Cup, in 2006/07 and 2007/08. They lost both ties, the first to Spain's Celta Vigo (1-1 home, 1-2 away).
• Spartak's best UEFA Cup performance came in 1997/98, when they reached the semi-finals.
• Seventh in Spain last term, Athletic are competing in Europe for a fourth successive season – their longest unbroken sequence since the mid-1980s. They were losing finalists in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup (to Juventus) as well as the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League (to Atlético Madrid).
• Spartak are the reigning Russian champions, winning the league last season for the first time in 16 years. They occupied third place at this season's winter break, trailing leaders Lokomotiv by eight points.
• Athletic have won all seven UEFA competition ties in which they prevailed in the away first leg, most recently against Panathinaikos in this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs (3-2 away, 1-0 home).
• In five attempts Spartak have never come back from a home defeat to win a two-legged European tie. That includes a 2003/04 UEFA Cup third-round encounter with Spanish club Mallorca (0-3 home, 1-0 away).
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Unai Bilbao
Out: Eneko Bóveda, Aymeric Laporte
In: Sofiane Hanni, Igor Leontiev
Out: Georgi Dzhikiya, Artem Samsonov
Links and trivia
• This will be Athletic's 59th game in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final: only Villarreal, with 61, have played more. Athletic's all-time tally of 97 goals scored is also only bettered by Villarreal (104).
• Athletic's Raúl García was a 2009/10 UEFA Europa League winner with Atlético Madrid.
• Aduriz top-scored in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, with ten goals, and is the second-highest all-time scorer in the competition proper – after 30-goal Radamel Falcao – with 25. He has seven goals in the current campaign, making him the leading scorer, and is on a scoring run of five successive matches.
• Spartak's Croatian midfielder Mario Pašalić, on loan from Chelsea, spent 2014/15 at Spanish club Elche, appearing in a 2-1 away win and 3-2 home defeat against Athletic.
• Spartak's Fernando and Luiz Adriano started both matches for Shakhtar Donetsk against Athletic in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage. A goalless draw in Bilbao was followed by a 1-0 win for Athletic in Lviv.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Xabier Etxeita, Raúl García (Athletic); Fernando, Ilya Kutepov, Luiz Adriano (Spartak).
• Athletic's record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W0 L2:
3-5 v CFR Cluj, 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup second round
4-5 v Sevilla, 2015/16 UEFA Europa League quarter-final
• Spartak Moskva's record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L1:
5-3 v Napoli, 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round
3-4 v Celtic, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
• Better known as 'Cuco', José Ángel Ziganda was a forward for Osasuna and Athletic Club who also won two caps for Spain and later guided the Pamplona side to the 2006/07 UEFA Cup semi-finals as coach. He was handed the Athletic job in May 2017, as the replacement for Barcelona-bound Ernesto Valverde, following a six-year spell as the Basque club's B team boss.
• A former Italian defender who did not hang up his boots until he was 44, Massimo Carrera's playing career reached a zenith with Juventus in the 1990s, a series of trophy successes beginning with the 1992/93 UEFA Cup. He returned to Turin to become assistant to Antonio Conte, later serving under him for Italy before taking over at Spartak and leading them to the 2016/17 Russian title at the first attempt.