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Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid
Where: Estadio San Mamés in Bilbao, Spain
When: Sunday, April 25 – 21:00 CEST
Weather: Showers, 18°C
Referee: González Fuertes
Los Colchoneros have found their form again, with two back-to-back victories against Eibar (5-0) and Huesca (2-0). They will look to keep that streak going on Sunday but that won’t be easy.
Athletic Bilbao enter this match without a loss in their last six home fixtures and have conceded less than a goal-a-game here this season. Will Estadio San Mamé remain a fortress for Athletic, or will they have to admit defeat to the current LaLiga frontrunners?
Atletico Madrid In Recovery Mode
Atletico Madrid have found themselves in a four-way battle for their first LaLiga title since the 2013/14 season with Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla. Having led the league by a country mile not too long ago, Atletico hit a slump and won only five out of their last 10 league bouts.
At the start of the month, Atletico had to admit defeat to Sevilla (0-1), and then played a painful draw (1-1) with Betis. Prior to that, they also drew with Getafe (0-0), marking the first time this season that Atletico have gone three away games without a win.
Things, however, started to look up of late.
Atletico will enter Sunday’s match after two commanding victories. They beat Eibar (5-0) and Huesca (2-0) to secure their first back-to-back victories since January.
With those results, Atletico are 22-7-3 on the season, with a 50% clean sheet rate. That said, they managed a clean sheet in only four out of their last 10 games.
Atletico will be without Jose Gimenez who serves a one-match suspension. He will join Luis Suarez and Joao Felix on the sidelines, as the two are still recovering from their respective injuries.
Athletic Will Look to Take Advantage of Atletico’s Poor Form
The mid-table Athletic have proven to be extremely hard to beat, granted they aren’t very efficient in winning either. The hosts have won only two LaLiga bouts in their last 11, but have managed eight draws along the way – including all of their last five.
Looking back, Athletic drew with Celta Vigo (0-0), Eibar (0-0), Real Sociedad (1-1), Alaves (0-0), and Betis (0-0). Although not losing is great, failing to win has its downside as well, seeing how Athletic’s European aspirations are fading quite rapidly.
They’re now 12 points behind Betis with two games in hand. Although that puts them in a somewhat decent position to make one final push, their recent form leaves us very unconvinced Athletic will emerge as LaLiga representatives in Europa League.
But every road starts somewhere, and for Athletic, their climb to top-six begins tonight. They haven’t lost a single home match in their last six (2-4-0), but they kept only one clean sheet during that stretch.
That said, Athletic have conceded less than a goal per game at Estadio San Mamés in 15 home fixtures. Only five of those ended with three goals or more.
Despite all the positives, Athletic traditionally struggle against Atletico. They have won only two of 16 head-to-head bouts since 2013 (2-3-11), which doesn’t do much in favor of their chances to win.
Athletic enter this match without Yeray Alvarez, Peru Nolaskoain, Iker Muniain, and Yuri Berchiche. They will welcome back Ander Capa and is expected to start to fill in the voids.
The same goes for Dani Garcia, Raul Garcia and Unai Lopez, who could get a nod for tonight’s match.
Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Betting Picks
Atletico Madrid haven’t been in the best shape of late, but after picking up two back-to-back wins, things are starting to look up. Before their underwhelming streak that began mid-March, Atletico were undefeated in seven straight away games, securing six wins along the way.
It might be a bit too early to say that Atletico are back in their prime form, but they’re definitely looking much better. Athletic haven’t lost a home LaLiga fixture since January (2-3 v Barcelona), but that should change tonight.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid -0.50 AH