MX23RW : Thursday, June 25 04:05:35| >> :120:66060:66060:
Jun 14, 2020 at 1pm UK at San Mames
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
Muniain (37')
Muniain (6'), Williams (45+1'), Martinez (84'), Larrazabal Goikoetxea (90+5')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Costa (39')

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Atletico Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid, including team news and predicted lineups.

Atletico Madrid will be looking to return to the top four in Spain's top flight when they resume their 2019-20 La Liga campaign away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday afternoon.

Diego Simeone's side are currently sixth in the table, one point off fourth-placed Real Sociedad, while Bilbao occupy 10th with 37 points to show from their 27 matches this season.

Match preview

Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 6, 2020© Reuters

There is no getting away from the fact that Athletic's last two finishes in La Liga have been disappointing. Indeed, they ended the 2017-18 campaign in 16th before claiming eighth last term, missing out on European football on both occasions.

The Basque outfit finished fourth, seventh, fifth and seventh between 2013 and 2017, but they face a battle to secure a top-seven spot this term due to their inconsistent form.

Gaizka Garitano's side have won nine, drawn 10 and lost eight of their 27 league matches this season, leaving them 10th in the table, five points off seventh-placed Valencia and eight behind Atletico in sixth.

Bilbao have won their last two in Spain's top flight, though, including an impressive 4-1 success away to Real Valladolid before the coronavirus outbreak halted the action back in March.

They also beat Atletico 2-0 in the corresponding league match last season but have lost five of their last six top-flight fixtures with Simeone's side, who have had problems of their own during the 2019-20 campaign.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone pictured in March 2020© Reuters

Atletico impressively overcame European champions Liverpool in the last-16 stage of the Champions League back in March, but the capital side are not enjoying their strongest domestic season.

Indeed, the Red and Whites are currently sixth in the table, five points off third-placed Sevilla and 11 points behind Real Madrid in second. Atletico are not in a title race at this stage - far from it - but will still fancy their chances of claiming another top-four finish come the end of the season.

Only Real Madrid (3) have lost fewer La Liga games than Atletico (4) this term but too many draws (12) have cost them the chance to push further up the table.

Goals have also been a real problem for the capital giants, managing just 31 in their 27 matches, which is only the 12th-best record in Spain's top flight, showing their issues in that area of the field.

Atletico do have a fairly kind fixture list in the coming weeks, though, and will be determined to return to winning ways in the league this weekend, having drawn their last two with Espanyol and Sevilla.

Bilbao La Liga form: LLLLWW
Bilbao form (all competitions): WLLWLW

Atletico La Liga form: LWDWDD
Atletico form (all competitions): DWWDDW

Team News

Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix in action with Osasuna's Pervis Estupinan in December 2019© Reuters

Unai Nunez and Ander Capa both missed Athletic's last clash with Valladolid through suspension, but the pair are available this weekend, while Oscar De Marcos has recovered from a long-term ankle injury.

Inigo Lekue will be unavailable due to an ankle problem, but Garitano otherwise has a full squad to choose from, and it would not be a surprise to see the bulk of the XI that featured last time out.

Iker Muniain is pushing for a return to the starting side, though, potentially alongside Inigo Cordoba, Inaki Williams and Raul Garcia as part of a front four.

As for Atletico, Sime Vrsaljko and Vitolo are both unlikely to be available, while Joao Felix will miss out through suspension due to the booking that he picked up against Sevilla.

The speculation surrounding Thomas Partey's future could see Marcos Llorente, who scored twice against Liverpool last time out, earn a spot in midfield alongside Saul Niguez, Koke and Yannick Carrasco.

Felix's absence could open the door for Diego Costa to start alongside Alvaro Morata in attack, meanwhile, as Angel Correa is also struggling to overcome a muscular problem in time for Sunday's clash.

Athletic possible starting lineup:
Simon; Yuri, Martinez, Alvarez, Capa; Vesga, D Garcia; Cordoba, Muniain, Williams; R Garcia

Atletico possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Trippier, Gimenez, Savic, Lodi; Koke, Saul, Llorente, Carrasco; Morata, Costa

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We say: Athletic 1-1 Atletico

There has not been a draw between these two teams in Spain's top flight since January 2017, but we are finding it hard to separate them this weekend. Atletico have been the draw specialists this term, and Athletic certainly have enough quality across the pitch to hold Simeone's side at San Mames.


Who will win Sunday's La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid?

Athletic Bilbao
Atletico Madrid
Athletic Bilbao
Atletico Madrid
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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone pictured on September 14, 2019
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rhs 2.0
1Real Madrid31208359213868
3Atletico MadridAtletico311413439221755
7Real Sociedad31145124739847
10Athletic Bilbao31101293327642
14Real Betis30810124048-834
15Real Valladolid31713112636-1034
16Celta Vigo31712122935-633

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