Athletic Bilbao vs Atlético Madrid. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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Athletic Bilbao will host Atlético de Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi final match at the San Mames Barria Stadium. The fixture will take place on Friday, March 1, beginning at 02:00 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Athletic Bilbao News & Current Form: 

Atletico are in the hunt for the Copa del Rey title and in the first semifinal match at the Wanda Metropolitano they achieved a significant advantage, becoming the first team this season to beat their upcoming opponents at their own stadium (0:1) – all decided by a penalty converted by Alex Berenguer in the 25th minute. 

In the first match between the teams, Atletico looked better than the opponent, hitting more than twice as many shots towards the goal, winning 10-6 on corners, taking possession 68% to 32%. What they did not realize in the first meeting, they will be able to realize in the return match.

Now the task for Bilbao is to build on the success and reach the final, unlike last year’s draw: then the Lions were knocked out at this stage of the tournament by CA Osasuna. And the last time they played in the final was in 2021, but lost to FC Barcelona with a score of 4:2, and became the Cup holders as early as 1984.

In the current edition of this tournament Athletic has already managed to take revenge on Barça, defeating them in the quarterfinals with a score of 4:2. In addition to the Catalans, the Basques knocked out Deportivo Alaves (2:0), SD Eibar (3:0), CD Cayon (3:0) and UE Rubi (2:1) from the fight for the prestigious trophy.

As for the national championship, Athletic from Bilbao is also having a very good season and is located on the fifth line in the standings of the Spanish championship. The gap from Atletico is three points, and the gap from going in sixth place Real Betis – as much as seven points.

In the last round of La Liga the Lions lost to Betis without a fight with a score of 1:3. But hardly anyone can reproach Valverde’s wards, as they have a very busy calendar. It was only the second loss in the last 13 rounds in the Primera, in the 21st round was a 1:0 loss against Valencia CF. Before that the team won 3:2 against Girona FC, and a few days after the fight with Atletico they will face Barcelona.

Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde, who once led Barça, deserves special praise, and actually he was named the best coach of February in La Liga championship. The mentor put the team in a very high quality game both in defense and offense. In 28 matches in all tournaments, the Basques scored 56 goals and conceded only 24.

Author of the winning goal for Athletic CLub in the first leg of Copa del Rey semi final – Alex Berenguer

It is important to note that the club from Bilbao performs well at home: at the San Mames stripes have not suffered defeats since August last year and currently have a series of nine victories in a row. Ander Herrera and Iñigo Lekue will most likely not take part in this meeting. 

As for the rest, Valverde can count on his optimal lineup, with Nico Williams (3 goals, 6 assists in La Liga) returning to action after a red card received in the last round of the Primera. 

Atletico have also recently strengthened their defense by signing left-back Adama Boiro. The only thing is that the fans of the Lions received the newcomer dryly. They started insulting the footballer on social media against the background of racism. Coach Valverde shared his opinion that these people lack culture.

Atlético Madrid News & Current Form: 

Atletico are having a very productive season. It reached the UEFAChampions League playoffs, winning the group, and also made it to the semifinals of the Spanish Cup for the first time in seven years. In the previous stages of the tournament, Madrid beat CD Lugo (3:1), Real Madrid CF (4:2 after added time) and Sevilla FC (1:0), thanks to an accurate strike from Depay.

The capital team last made it to the final of the Copa del Rey in 2013. Then he managed to beat Real Madrid 2:1 and lift the prestigious trophy over their heads. By the way, the capital team has 10 titles and 19 finals to its credit.

The wards of Diego Simeone had a big advantage in the home game against Bilbao, but failed to realize their chances. Now they have to win with a difference of at least two goals to reach the final. If they manage to win by 1 goal, the confrontation will go into extra time. 

Top scorer of Atletico Madrid Antoine Griezmann is injured and will miss the Copa del Rey semi final

As for La Liga, in recent matches the Colchoneros have lost momentum. In 6 previous encounters in all tournaments they managed to win only 1 victory – over UD Las Palmas (5:0). And before that they played away against UD Almeria. By the way, this is the only team in the Primera (and perhaps even in the top five in Europe), which has not won once this season. Despite being the favorites and leading twice, Atletico ultimately failed to win against the team occupying the last place in the table. 

Overall, Atletico the Blue and Reds have won only 4 out of 13 away matches in the Spanish league. This shows that it is often difficult for the team to achieve success on foreign fields. The need to improve performance in away games is becoming evident for the team and its coaches.

Thus, the team has a real possibility of dropping out of 2 tournaments before the middle of March. And in La Liga Madrid do not claim to be champions, but are fighting for the top-4, where their main competitor is just Athletic.

Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata make a special contribution to their success. The Frenchman in the Atletico squad took part in 32 meetings in all official tournaments, in which he recorded 18 goals and seven assists. The Spaniard, in turn, scored 23 goals in 36 games for the club and the national team.

It was the prolific forward duo that helped Simeone avoid defeat in the recent Madrid derby with Real Madrid in the 23rd round of La Liga. The Colchoneros were quite lucky in general, they managed to equalize only in the second half. The opponent looked preferable. They attacked more often and more dangerously and could have scored more.

Atletico will definitely not have Thomas Lemar and the club’s top scorer Griezmann, as well as César Azpilicueta (who should return to action in April) and Jose Jimenez (important for the rotation of central defenders) – all of them are injured. 

Athletic Bilbao form guide: D-W-W-D-W-L

Atlético Madrid form guide: D-L-L-W-L-D

Athletic Bilbao vs Atlético Madrid Head-To-Head Record:

Athletic Bilbao DrawAtlético Madrid
  • February 19, 2023: Atletico Madrid 1 – 0 Athletic Bilbao (La Liga);
  • December 16, 2023: Athletic Bilbao 2 – 0 Atletico Madrid (La Liga);
  • February 7, 2024: Atletico Madrid 0 – 1 Athletic Bilbao (Copa del Rey).

Athletic Bilbao vs Atlético Madrid Predicted XI:

Athletic Bilbao’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Agirrezabala; De Marcos, Vivian, Paredes, Garcia de Albeniz; Prados, Ruiz de Galarreta; I. Williams, Sancet, N. Williams; Guruzeta.

Atlético Madrid’s possible starting lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Llorente, Savic, Witsel, Hermoso, Lino; De Paul, Koke, Barrios; Correa, Morata.

Statistical preview of the match Athletic Bilbao vs Atlético Madrid:

  • Athletic’s First XI average age is 26.3 years, Madrid’s First XI average age is 29.1 years.
  • The total value of Bilbao’s squad is 242 mln euros, while the total of Atletico comes up to 454 mln euros.
  • Juan Martinez Munuera has been appointed as the center referee. The referee has already served 13 games this season, showing an average of 3.85 Yellow Cards and also whistles 25 fouls per game. 
  • In the current season, Athletic has twice defeated Madrid with a total score of 3:0.
  • Lions are on a 7-match unbeaten series at San Mames in the Spanish Cup.
  • Atletico occupy the 8th position in terms of away record in La Liga with only 4 wins in 13 confrontations.
  • Athletic have scored at least two goals in 90 minutes in 5 out of 6 previous games in this tournament.
  • Before the defeat in the first meeting of the semifinal Madrid did not lose in regular time in 8 consecutive matches in the Spanish Cup (6 wins and 2 draws).

What has been said before the match:

Gaffer of the Lions Ernesto Valverde about playing the second semi final fixture on the home stadium:

“I hope San Mames will really get behind us. We’re playing to reach a final. This is the kind of game we wanted to play in at the beginning of the season. The important thing is to settle down quickly and be ourselves. Let’s see if we can do that and get through. It’ll be a tough match, with a lot of emotions, and we have to control that too. We will try to be up to the task.”

“Everything is up in the air. There wasn’t a big enough difference between the two sides for the first-leg result to be a decisive factor. We have to play this match as if the score is 0:0. We’ll try to win at home, knowing how difficult that will be, against a team that will certainly look to take the initiative.”

“It’s exciting for the players, there’s no doubt about it. The welcome to San Mames and the atmosphere in general motivates us a lot. We have to experience from the position we’re in – one of privilege.”

Athletic Bilbao vs Atlético Madrid Prediction:

Besides the victory in Madrid a fortnight ago, Athletic confidently won the league match against Atletico in mid-December (2:0). Notably, Ernesto Valverde’s team now have active unbeaten and winning home streaks of 14 and 10 games respectively. And during the latter, the Lions won not only against Colchoneros, but also knocked out Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and confidently dealt with Girona in the last to date duel at San Mames. At this stadium they concede an average of 1.1 goals per game, while scoring 2.5. In La Liga, only Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid perform better at home than the Basques.

The semi-final equation is supplemented by the following fact: Diego Simeone’s men have had considerable difficulties in away matches in the 23/24 campaign. Taking into account all tournaments, they won only 6 out of 19 away games, and also drew 5 times. Over this period of time, the Mattress Makers average 1.5 goals per match, conceding 1.4. And the only two away wins in the national championship this year (7 matches) Diego Simeone’s team got in matches against outsiders – modest Lugo and Granada, which has been in the relegation zone for a long time.

If we look at the history of head-to-head meetings, there is also a dismal picture for Madrid: they have prevailed in only 4 of the last 12 matches. And 9 out of 12 of these meetings have seen less than 2.5 goals scored in total.

However, all previous setbacks are merely history, and something suggests that the Indians will not give up their place in the final for nothing, they know how to pull themselves together at the right moment, especially in knock-out clashes. However, the instrumentarium at Diego Simeone’s disposal is diminished: the vanguard of the attack, Antoine Griezmann, is injured, and this is a very significant factor. On top of that, Morata, another top striker, has a goal-dry streak of 7 games, he is struggling to find chances, Alvaro is clearly not at his best at the moment. Atletico Madrid will need to attack and take the initiative in the match, but with an under-strength arsenal and a possible pragmatic defensive foothold by the Basques, the chances to score more than 1 goal are very slim.

The Red and Whites are rightly considered favorites for the return match, they are fresher, more motivated – the first trophy for many years is here, just two steps away. Given the recent home successes of Ernesto Valverde’s team and inputs mentioned above, we expect the Lions not to lose in the regular time.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Athletic Bilbao will not lose in the regular time and the match total will be less than 3.5 – Yes.