Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Sports Mole looks ahead to Athletic Bilbao's opening Champions League group-stage encounter against Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

Champions League group football will be played at the new San Mames stadium for the first time on Wednesday evening when Athletic Bilbao host Shakhtar Donetsk.

On paper at least. it appears to be a daunting trip for the Ukrainian side because Bilbao have lost just one of their last 15 home European encounters, eight of which have been won.

However, the away side can take solace from the fact that they have won six of their last seven opening group fixtures in European competition.

In terms of team selection, Athletic head coach Ernesto Valverde has no major injury concerns. Mikel San Jose and Ibai Gomez were both on the bench for the weekend's trip to Barcelona, but they could return to the starting lineup for the visit of Shakhtar.

Aside from that, Aritz Aduriz is expected to be Athletic's main focal point in attack, with Iker Muniain offering support from a wide position.

As for Shakhtar, a number of the Brazilian contingent at Mircea Lucescu's disposal, including Alex Teixeira, Douglas Costa, Luiz Adriano and Taison, should all start.

Shakhtar have made eight previous trips to Spain, but have only won on two occasions.

Recent form

Athletic: DLWWL

Shakhtar: WWWDWW

Possible starting lineups

Athletic: Iraizoz; San Jose, Laporte, Gurpegi, Balenziaga; Iturraspe, Rico, Gomez; Susaeta, Muniain, Aduriz

Shakhtar: Kanibolotskiy; Srna, Ordets, Krivtsov, Azevedo; Stepanenko, Fernando; Taison, Teixeira, Costa; Adriano

Sports Mole says: 1-0

Share this article now:
Viktoria Plzen's Stanislav Tecl is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Shakhtar Donetsk during their Europa League match on February 20, 2014
Read Next:
Result: Shakhtar held by Plzen
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!
2Atletico MadridAtletico2416713692755
3Real Madrid24146458273148
10Real Betis24103114150-933
11Celta Vigo2495104137432
12Real Sociedad2485114645129
14Athletic Bilbao2461082427-328
18Las PalmasLas Palmas2453161852-3418
19Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2445152453-2917
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account