Bremen protecting perch from Athletic move

Athletic Club will look to deny Werder Bremen top spot in Group L as the leading lights meet on Matchday 6 with their places in Friday's UEFA Europa League round of 32 draw already secure.

Athletic Club will look to deny Werder Bremen top spot in Group L as the leading lights meet on Matchday 6 with their places in Friday's UEFA Europa League round of 32 draw already secure.

• Athletic will move to the head of the section if they win 2-0 or by three clear goals or more against last season's beaten UEFA Cup finalists. Any other result will see Bremen finish top.

Previous meetings
• Bremen beat Athletic 3-1 as the sides met for the first time on Matchday 2. Bremen's nine previous games in Spain have ended W2 D0 L7. Athletic's two home fixtures against German clubs finished in a win and a draw.

Match background
• Athletic breezed through their only UEFA Cup group-stage campaign in 2004/05 before losing out to their present group rivals FK Austria Wien in the round of 32.

• Having competed in the last five UEFA Champions League group stages, Bremen never participated in a UEFA Cup group phase. However, they dropped into the latter competition as the third-placed side in their UEFA Champions League section on three occasions.

• Athletic have won their last three European games in Bilbao.

• Bremen are unbeaten in ten European away games, not including their 2-1 extra-time loss to FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup final, which was played in neutral territory.

Team facts
• Bremen are still under the command of Thomas Schaaf, who represented the club as a defender from 1978 to 1995, stayed on as a coach and eventually took charge of the first team in 1999. On 14 December, Schaaf signed a new contract extension at the club which will keep him there until the summer of 2012.

• A coach since his mid-20s, Athletic boss Joaquín Caparrós has been at the San Mamés helm since 2007, having worked his way up through the lower leagues to take charge of the likes of Villarreal CF, Sevilla FC – whom he led in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage – and RC Deportivo La Coruña.

• Athletic's Fernando Llorente goes into Matchday 6 as the top scorer in the UEFA Europa League group stage with six goals, two ahead of his nearest rivals.

• Last season's UEFA Cup finalists Shakhtar and Bremen are the highest scoring sides in the UEFA Europa League group stage, with 14 goals each.

• Bremen No1 Tim Wiese celebrates his 28th birthday on 17 December, the day after the game against Athletic.

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