Athletic Club will lock horns with Sevilla this Thursday at the Estadio San Mames in Bilbao, looking to bounce back from a crushing one-nil loss to Real Madrid last time out.
The home team still has an outside chance of finishing in seventh –place this season as they currently have 48 points in the bag three points below Real Sociedad in seventh. Their form since the league’s restart has been decent, to say the least, with three wins (D2, L2) in the seven games they have played in that period.
Sevilla meanwhile remain firmly in pursuit of a top-four finish. Their last outing, which saw them record just their third win in the seven games played since the league’s restart brought their season tally to points and took them six points beyond Villarreal who lost to Barca last time. With four games to still play for this season, Julian Loptegui’s boys can take another step closer to Champions League qualification with a win here.
Gaizka Garitano will be without Raul Garcia, who misses out through suspension while Yeray Alvarez remains out with a calf injury. Benat Etxebarria is a doubt for this tie.
Sevilla finished their last game with Lucas Ocampos in goal after first-choice goalie Tomas Vaclik suffered an ugly injury. It offers a selection headache for Julian Lopetegui, who will have to shuffle his backline for this tie.
Head to head
The last five meetings between both teams has seen an equal number of wins (two) for both teams with their only draw in that period coming in the reverse fixture in January.
Athletico Bilbao last five games in all competitions: LWWLW
Sevilla last five games in all competitions: WDDD
Atletico Bilbao hasn’t been precisely firing on all cylinders since the restart. With eleven points from the last 21 available, Leo Leones are doing just enough to stay within the fringes of a top-half finish and pose no serious threat to the teams ahead gunning for a European spot.
If their league form doesn’t tell the story of their season’s ambition, their sorry attack surely does. Garitano’s side remain blunt in attack and are one of the lowest-scoring sides in the league this season. With 38 goals to their name in 34 games, they are 13th on the scoring charts.
Their lack of action in front of their opponent’s goal is made much clearer when you consider that just two of their last 15 games in all competitions saw them score more than two goals. In fact, eleven of those games saw them score one or fewer goals.
However, they have one of best defenses in the top flight this season, having conceded 29 times, behind only Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid in fewest goals conceded.
On average, they concede 0.85 goals per game this season—with their home average on 0.59. Sevilla meanwhile head into this tie unbeaten in eleven league games (W5, D6) and unbeaten in 13 in all competitions (W5, D8).
However, their win last time out was the first time they had won two league games in a row since December. With four games to go, thee visitors will be looking to build upon their recent wins and make it three in a row for the second time this season.
Julian Lopetegui’s boys have seen just one of their last five away league games feature less than 2.5 goals. In those five games, they recorded two impressive three-nil wins with the others ending even.
They remain one of the best sides away from home this season with more away wins (8) than at home wins (7)—only Real Madrid have more away wins.
The visitors have scored in twelve consecutive away league games, with the last game in which they failed to score coming away to Barcelona in October last year.
Sevilla to win @ 31/20
Under 3.5 Goals @ 1/6
Both Teams to Score/No @ 31/40