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Can Athletic Bilbao finish in La Liga’s top four and win the Copa del Rey in dream season?

29/03/24
Can Athletic Bilbao finish in La Liga’s top four and win the Copa del Rey in dream season?
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Athletic Bilbao last qualified for the Champions League in 2014-15. Champions League football has been a rarity for the Basque Country club.

However, this season, the Lions could qualify for the Champions League. Athletic Bilbao are having one of those rare seasons, a campaign that could end in Champions League football in 2024-25.

Manager Ernesto Valverde, in his second season with the club, has Athletic Bilbao playing some of the best football in Europe’s top-five leagues.

The club picked up 56 points from 29 games, scoring 50 goals and allowing just 26.

The Lions have the league’s second-best defence. Only league leaders Real Madrid have conceded fewer goals.

Athletic Bilbao aren’t just about defence. Valverde’s team has scored 50 goals, which is the fifth-most goals this term.

Athletic Bilbao’s performance this season is made even more remarkable by the club’s Basque only rules.

The club only signs players from the Basque region or players that have ties to the area.

This means Athletic Bilbao’s pool of players to recruit from is incredibly small. The Lions often punch above their weight just to stay in La Liga.

This season, the club is punching above its weight even more. Along with being fourth in La Liga currently, Athletic Bilbao will play Mallorca in the Copa del Rey final.

A Copa del Rey win would be Athletic Bilbao’s first cup trophy since 1983-40. If the club can win the Copa del Rey, it would end a 40 year drought in the competition.

Gorka Guruzeta leads Athletic Bilbao in goals with 13. Although the club has scored 50 in La Liga in total, the scoring has been spread amongst the squad.

Fourteen different players have got onto the scoresheet.

Guruzeta is the only player to score double digits in the league. Star player Inaki Williams has nine goals ahead of round 30. Williams is the golden boy of Athletic Bilbao.

Williams signed a nine-year contract in 2019, which will keep him at the club until 2028. He is often the catalyst to Athletic Bilbao’s offence.

But Valverde’s tactics have enabled Athletic to spread out the goals and not focus on Williams like in the past.

Inaki’s little brother, Nico Williams, is one of the hottest prospects in Europe. The younger Williams has nine assists this season, which leads the squad.

Valverde often plays the Williams brothers on the wings in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Guruzeta has played through the middle, as Valverde has unlocked a winning formation.

Athletic Bilbao are battling on two fronts. Champions League qualification could see the club reach Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in 10 years.

Meanwhile, Valverde could deliver Athletic Bilbao their first Copa del Rey trophy in 40 years.

The final months of the season will be a very exciting time at San Mames. Can Athletic Bilbao finish in the top four and end the campaign with silverware?

Home team
Away team
Probability %
1X2
Pred
Correct score
Avg. goals
Weather conditions
Coef.
Score
Live
coef.
Es1
433325
1
2 - 1
2.87
1.55
1.55 4.20 5.25 no no no
FT
2 - 0(1 - 0)
-
- - -

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La Liga
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L +/-
1
Real Madrid 78 31 24 6 1 47
2
Barcelona 70 31 21 7 3 28
3
Girona 65 31 20 5 6 24
4
Atlético Madrid 61 31 19 4 8 23
5
Athletic Bilbao 57 31 16 9 6 22
6
Real Sociedad 50 31 13 11 7 12
7
Valencia 47 31 13 8 10 2
8
Real Betis 45 31 11 12 8 1
9
Villarreal 39 31 10 9 12 -5
10
Getafe 39 31 9 12 10 -6
11
Osasuna 39 31 11 6 14 -8
12
Las Palmas 37 31 10 7 14 -6
13
Sevilla 34 31 8 10 13 -5
14
Deportivo Alavés 32 31 8 8 15 -12
15
Real Mallorca 31 31 6 13 12 -11
16
Rayo Vallecano 31 31 6 13 12 -13
17
Celta Vigo 28 31 6 10 15 -13
18
Cadiz 25 31 4 13 14 -20
19
Granada CF 17 31 3 8 20 -28
20
UD Almería 14 31 1 11 19 -32

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