HomeBusinessChallenge Bilbao Faces Atletico In Champions League Race

Challenge Bilbao Faces Atletico In Champions League Race

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Barcelona, ​​​​(APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 26th April, 2024) Atletico Madrid have a chance to keep Athletic Bilbao at arm’s length in the race to qualify for the Champions League when the teams meet on Saturday in La Liga.

Diego Simeone’s stumbling Atletico are fourth, three points clear of fifth-placed Copa del Rey winners Athletic.

It will be a high-intensity clash in the Spanish capital, with Atletico still licking their wounds from last week’s Champions League quarter-final elimination by Borussia Dortmund.

They suffered a humiliating 2-0 defeat at Alaves last weekend, increasing the pressure ahead of Los Leones’ visit to the Metropolitano stadium.

Ernesto Valverde’s side arrive knowing that victory would give them a huge chance of returning to Europe’s top competition for the first time since 2014.

This season Athletic have put Simeone’s team to the sword on all three occasions they have met, scoring six goals and conceding none.

Athletic overcame Atletico in December in La Liga, winning 2-0 at San Mames.

“You can’t win titles like this, you can’t win leagues… Bilbao were much better than us,” noted Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who was equally critical of his team after defeating Alaves recently.

“We have entered a terrible dynamic,” the stopper pointed out.

“If we don’t improve it will be a very hard end to the season.”

The teams met again in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, with Atletico on top but falling to a 1-0 defeat, their first at home for over a year.

Atletico fans argued that their opponents had enjoyed more rest before the game and that an unusually rash challenge by Reinildo Mandava yielded a penalty which Alex Berenguer converted to secure Athletic’s victory.

However, in the second leg Athletic dominated and tore to a 3-0 victory against Simeone’s flailing Athletic.

Athletic stumbled to a 1-1 draw against Granada last week but Atletico’s defeat turned that into a point gained rather than two lost.

After winning the Spanish cup for the first time in 40 years to spark days of wild celebrations, a comedown was almost inevitable but Valverde needs his team to break down again in the final weeks to make it an even better season.

“Someone will have to pull them down from the clouds and focus on La Liga, and that someone is usually the coach,” said Valverde after winning the cup.

Veteran Raul Garcia retires at the end of the campaign while captain Iker Muniain has also said he will leave, and taking the Basques back to the big time would be the perfect note to walk out on.

Player to watch: Artem Dovbyk

The Girona striker is the division’s top goalscorer with 18 and will be looking to boost that tally in Las Palmas on Saturday as his side kick on in their hunt for Champions League football next season.

Key statistics

24.7 – Valencia’s squad has the youngest average age in La Liga

81 – Inaki Williams leads the league for shots taken

24,054 – touches of the ball this season by possession-hungry Barcelona, ​​more than any other team

Games (always GMT)


Real Sociedad v Real Madrid (1900)


Las Palmas v Girona (1200), Almeria v Getafe (1415), Alaves v Celta Vigo (1630), Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao (1900)


Cadiz v Mallorca (1200), Granada v Osasuna (1415), Villarreal v Rayo Vallecano (1630), Real Betis v Sevilla (1900)


Barcelona in Valencia (1900)

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