Athletic Bilbao vs Hertha – Thursday, November 23, 18:00GMT/19:00CET – San Mamés, Bilbao, Spain.
Both Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin have their work cut out for themselves with just two matches to go in the Europa League group stage. Bilbao are in third place and cannot be eliminated on this matchday. The same, however, is not true for Hertha, who will be out of this competition should they lose in Spain.
For Hertha, an early exit would cap off a disappointing European campaign for head coach Pal Dardai. But Hertha’s coach has been punished for using the Europa League to rotate his squad. As a result, Hertha only managed one point in the first three games, and it was just thanks to a 2-0 victory over Ukrainian side Zorya that Hertha have any chance remaining in this group.
Not everything is lost for Hertha, however, as Östersunds and Zorya are playing each other. A win in Spain could see Hertha jump to one of the two top spots. Bilbao are a solid side though and the Basque club, famous for only playing players from the Basque country, will provide a challenge for the club from the German capital. Currently eleventh in La Liga Bilbao are better than their current standing would suggest.
Athletic Bilbao vs Hertha – Player to look out for:
Iñaki Williams #11 – Athletic Bilbao
Iñaki Williams is Athletic Bilbao’s latest super talent. Brought through Athletic’s youth academy, the winger has been linked to clubs all over Europe. But Bilbao can be a difficult negotiation partner, and it is understood that any club wanting to sign the 23-year-old would have to pay in the region of €50 million. Given the recent excesses on the transfer market, it will, however, only be a matter of time for one of the big clubs to pay the money asked for by Athletic.
Davie Selke #27 – Hertha
Davie Selke has finally arrived at Hertha Berlin. Starting the season with an injury Selke has only played five games for Hertha in the Bundesliga. But the tall forward, who was signed this summer from RB Leipzig, already managed three goals in two Europa League games. With Hertha needing to win all their remaining games in the competition head coach Pal Dardai will be looking at Selke to provide the bulk of the goals.
Athletic Bilbao vs Hertha – Match Stats
- In their only pairing with Liga opponents before that, Hertha drew 1-1 at home to Barcelona in the 1999-00 UEFA Champions League second group stage but lost 3-1 at Camp Nou.
- Athletic’s record in 11 European matches with German teams is W4 D3 L4. At home, it is W2 D2 L1.
- Athletic have won seven of their last eight European fixtures in Bilbao, the exception being the 1-0 defeat by Zorya on matchday two. That was the only one of their last 17 European home games in which they have failed to score.
- Hertha have lost their last four away matches in European competition, conceding ten goals and scoring just two.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Athletic Bilbao vs Hertha – 0-2
Athletic Bilbao vs Hertha – Possible Lineups
Arrizabalaga – Balenziaga, Laporte, Nunez, Lekue – San Jose, Iturraspe – Cordoba, Garcia, Williams – Aduriz
Coach: Cuco Ziganda
Jarstein – Plattenhardt, Rekik, Langkamp, Weiser – Skjelbred, Duda – Kalou, Lazaro – Selke, Ibisević
Coach: Pal Dardai
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.