18:00 GMT 23 November 2017
The UEFA Europa League is in full swing and we are into the business end of the group stages as the teams competing in Europe’s secondary tournament play their fifth matches this Thursday. One of the biggest ties of the round is in Group J as Hertha Berlin travel from the German capital to Spain to face Athletic Bilbao. The two sides are out of contention for qualification for the knockout stages at the moment as the hosts are 3rd while their upcoming opponents are 4th. However, both teams are within reaching distance of Ostersunds, who are top of the group.
The only previous fixture between these two sides came in the reverse match in Group J and it ended as a goalless stalemate. Neither side could force a way through but it was Hertha who dominated the game with 19 shots compared to Bilbao’s 12. Despite the lack of goals, it wasn’t a boring match and it came down to the fact that neither side produced a chance that could be classed as clear-cut.
Head to head matches: Athletic Bilbao - Hertha BSC
|14.09.2017||UEFA||Hertha BSC||Athletic Bilbao||0:0|
Anything less than a win in this one for Bilbao won’t be good enough and a loss will see their chances of progression massively reduced. They have a few star players missing for the clash as Iker Muniain and Beñat miss out through injury while Unai Nuñez is suspended. One positive sees Oscar De Marcos return to the squad.
Latest matches: Athletic Bilbao
|19.11.2017||LaLi||Athletic Bilbao||Villarreal CF||1:1||D|
|05.11.2017||LaLi||Celta de Vigo||Athletic Bilbao||3:1||L|
|02.11.2017||UEFA||Athletic Bilbao||Ostersunds FK||1:0||W|
|28.10.2017||LaLi||Athletic Bilbao||FC Barcelona||0:2||L|
|25.10.2017||Copa||SD Formentera||Athletic Bilbao||1:1||D|
A loss to Athletic Bilbao in their fifth group game will almost definitely end their 2017/18 Europa League campaign. They have a few injury worries as Julian Schieber, Vladimir Darida, Niklas Stark and Valentin Stocker are all expected to be unavailable. Latest matches: Hertha BSC
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1 FC Cologne
Latest matches: Hertha BSC
Prior to this season, this would’ve been seen as a decent European fixture but with the decline of both sides, it’s not necessarily seen as that now. They will both be desperate to win to keep their hopes of making the knock-out stages alive but one side must suffer as a result. With home advantage, it is Athletic Bilbao who go into the game as favourites but it could go down to which side shows more passion and fight. Neither side can afford to drop points so it should be a good game.
23 November 2017 - 18:00 GMT
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