Athletic Bilbao

V

San Mamés Barria

22/02/2018 | 8:05 pm

Spartak Moscow

V

San Mamés Barria

22/02/2018 | 8:05 pm

In a sentence: Athletic Bilbao welcome Russian side Spartak Moscow to the Basque Country on Thursday night, with a two goal lead from the first leg.

Last time: Bilbao pulled off one of the results of the round last Thursday night, beating Spartak Moscow 3-1 in their own backyard.

This time: Spartak Moscow head to Spain with some life still left in the tie, with an away win at 16/5 and a home win at 17/20.

You might remember: Bilbao have only lost once to Russian opposition in European competition, to Lokomotiv Moscow back in 2012, in the same stage of the Europa League as they are now.

Team News

Betting Tips & Predictions

Athletic Bilbao were celebrating in Russia and should be again at San Mames

Athletic’s win away in Russia, particularly storming to 3-0 lead by half time, was a real surprise as it was predicted that it would be a tight game.

Spartak’s lack of match sharpness, with the Russian league still on a winter break until March, was a key actor in this as they struggled to live with the intensity of Bilbao’s play in the opening 45 minutes.

Bilbao are likely to play a much cagier game this time around, with the advantage firmly in their favour, and with Spartak having no choice but to chase the game.

The Basque side have not lost at home in any competition since November 29th, and that is unlikely to change against ring rusty  Spartak side – with a home win priced at 17/20.

Given their current position of 14th in La Liga, Athletic know that the Europa League represents their only chance of silverware and European football for next season.

With that in mind they will want to make a statement in front of their home support, but their three goals in Russia are the only ones they have scored in their last four games.

Alongside this, Bilbao have not scored more than two goals in a match since November 23rd against Hertha Berlin, and this looks unlikely to change – and an under 2.5 goals bet is priced at an interesting 11/10.1

Match Summary

1

Look out for:

Experienced striker Aritz Aduriz is the key man for Bilbao,despite his advancing years, and he is their leading scorer with 15 goals so far this season.

Seven of those have come in the Europa League, making him the leading scorer in the competition in 2017-18, and he netted twice in the first leg.

In general if he plays well, Bilbao tend to win, he is 11/4 to score first.

2

We fancy:

There should be a different approach  from Bilbao in this game, with Cuco Ziganda’s side likely to look to contain whatever threat Spartak have and look to hit them on the break.

This has not been a vintage season for Bilbao, with question marks over Ziganda’s ability to continue the work of Ernesto Valverde, but they should have enough to motor on in this competition.

A narrow win will do, and a 1-0 home victory is priced at 13/2.

3

It’s a long shot, but:

Spartak are far from dead and buried in this tie, with Adriano’s second half goal in Russia giving them a chance to keep the tie alive.

The Brazilian striker is key for the visitors and if they are to turn things around he will need to be on form, and he possess the tools to do that.

He is 16/1 to upset the apple cart and score twice on Thursday night.

Written by Feargal Brennan

Feargal Brennan is a long-suffering Everton fan who turned to European football for respite from the Toffees’ struggles. A frequent radio contributor, Feargal writes on football and betting and is an expert in how to cope when you support a forever frustrating football team.