Thursday 23 Nov

Ath Bilbao vs Hertha Berlin - Match Preview

22 Nov 2017 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Group J
INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Group J

Athletic Bilbao

  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

vs

Kick-off
18:00 GMT
23 November 2017

Hertha BSC

  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Kick-off
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.

STATS

  • After a great campaign last season, it has been the complete opposite for Athletic Bilbao this term as they are 15th in La Liga and struggling to qualify in Group J. After picking up just two points in their first three European matches, they secured their first win of the group in their last game as they beat group leaders, Ostersunds 1-0 at home. They went into the group as favourites to finish first and despite their poor efforts so far, they can still do that.
  • Hertha Berlin are currently experiencing the same form as their Europa League opponents. They are 14th in the Bundesliga and sit bottom of the group and if they don’t get a win in this game, their European fate could be all-but sealed. Like their opponents, Hertha picked up their only win of the group in the last match week against Zorya which increased their slim chances of qualification dramatically.
  • Bilbao have only scored three goals in the Europa League this season, two of them have come from Aritz Aduriz with the other coming from Iñaki Williams.
  • Like Bilbao, Hertha Berlin have just three goals in their four matches. However, Davie Selke has scored all of their Europa League goals and it was thanks to his brace that they beat Zorya.

HEAD TO HEAD

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

ATHLETIC BILBAO NEWS

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

HERTHA BERLIN NEWS

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

18.11.2017 Bund Hertha BSC Monchengladbach 2:4 L
05.11.2017 Bund VfL Wolfsburg Hertha BSC 3:3 D
02.11.2017 UEFA Hertha BSC FC Zorya Lugansk 2:0 W
28.10.2017 Bund Hertha BSC Hamburger SV 2:1 W
25.10.2017 DFB Hertha BSC 1 FC Cologne 1:3 L

SUMMARY

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.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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