Hertha v Athletic background
Hertha Berlin will bid to make it through the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second time, kicking off their Group J campaign at home against Athletic Club.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• In their only previous encounter with Liga opponents, Hertha drew 1-1 at home to Barcelona in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League second group stage, but lost 3-1 at Camp Nou.
• Athletic’s ten European matches with German teams have ended W4 D2 L4. They have won their last two games in Germany – 4-2 at Schalke in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and 3-2 at Augsburg in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Hertha are unbeaten in three European home fixtures (W2 D1).
• Athletic are unbeaten in two UEFA away games this season (W1 D1) – against Dinamo București (1-1) and Panathinaikos (3-2).
• Sixth in Germany last term, Hertha got through the UEFA Europa League group stage on their most recent appearance, in 2009/10, but were knocked out in last season’s third qualifying round.
• Seventh in Spain last term, Athletic have successfully negotiated the last two UEFA Europa League group stages, and notably were losing finalists in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup and 2011/12 UEFA Europa League.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Bilbao to Berlin is around 1,600km.
• Athletic’s Raúl García was a 2009/10 UEFA Europa League winner with Atlético Madrid.
• Athletic’s Aritz Aduriz top-scored in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League with ten goals.
• Hertha’s Salomon Kalou was a 2011/12 UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea.
• Pál Dárdai joined Hertha as a player in 1997 and made a club-record 366 league appearances for Die Alte Dame. He coached Hertha’s youth team – and Hungary’s senior side – for a time before taking command of the seniors in 2015.
• Better known as ‘Cuco’, José Ángel Ziganda was a forward for Osasuna and Athletic Club, and later took Osasuna to the 2006/07 UEFA Cup semi-finals as a coach. He was handed the Athletic reins in May 2017 after a six-year spell as B team boss.