Athletic Bilbao v BATE: San Jose confident of securing third

Mikel San Jose is certain that Athletic Bilbao will prove they are better than BATE and secure third spot in UEFA Champions League Group H.

Athletic can claim a place in the Europa League knockout phase with a draw at home to BATE on Wednesday, but they have struggled in Europe's elite competition this term, winning just one of their five matches since overcoming Napoli in qualifying.

The Spanish side's early-season domestic form also appeared to be affected, with Ernesto Valverde's men emerging victorious only once in their first eight Liga contests, leaving them 18th in early October.

They have since improved and currently sit ninth in the Spanish top flight, though a 1-0 home defeat to Cordoba on Saturday - the Andalusian club's first La Liga win in 42 years - was something of a set-back.

BATE claimed their only Champions League triumph of the campaign when they beat Athletic in Borisov on matchday two, but San Jose is adamant revenge will be sought and third place will be clinched.

"We are going out as always; to win the match," he told reporters. "We were not good against Cordoba. It was not our match and we lost a great opportunity. Against Cordoba our mistakes were punished.

"We were not good at anything in Borisov [either] and we will prove that we are better and we are going to be third.

"The blow against Cordoba was very strong, but Wednesday is a very important match. We will continue in Europe."

BATE, who secured the Belarusian title for a ninth consecutive year in November, are in the Champions League group stage for the fourth time and the third season in succession.

Only once have they not finished bottom of their group, with the 2012-13 season being the exception, as they went on to lose to Fenerbahce in the Europa League's last 32.

BATE's domestic season finished at the end of November, with the champions extending their record unbeaten run to 31 league games.

And new signing Aleksey Rios is optimistic that BATE can round off another good year by qualifying for the Europa League.

He told the club's official website: "[We] would love to [finish third]. From this perspective it is a pity that Shakhtar Donetsk lost to Athletic. 

"But everything will be decided in Bilbao. It all depends on BATE and getting the tactics right for the match."

BATE coach Alyaksandr Yermakovich has few injuries worries to contend with, as only Egor Filipenko (thigh) is in danger of missing out.

Meanwhile, Aritz Aduriz (arm) and Xabi Etxeita (groin) are doubts for Athletic, although Guillermo Fernandez (nose) could return and take the place of 20-year-old Inaki Williams, who made his debut in attack against Cordoba.

Carlos Gurpegi will sit out through suspension.