Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Prediction: Hosts to hold firm at fortress San Mames

 | February 28 | 

4 mins read

A huge clash is in store at Estadio San Mames on Thursday night (KO, 20:30), as Athletic Club take on Atletico Madrid in the second-leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie.

Athletic hold the lead heading into this one after Alex Berenguer's first-half penalty inflicted a rare defeat on Atletico at the Metropolitano Stadium earlier this month, and like their opponents, the Lions have only lost once at home this season. That was against another Madrid side - Real - back on August 12, but they have already beaten Diego Simeone's side in Bilbao this term, winning 2-0 back in December.

Atletico will be glad to see the back of February after winning just once in six games across three competitions, but they must rouse themselves one more time before the month ends, with the Copa del Rey acting as their best chance to land a major trophy this season.

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Betting Tips:

  • Athletic Bilbao or draw and both teams to score - Yes (90 mins) @ 6/4
  • Alvaro Morata to score anytime (90 mins) @ 15/8

Team News

Number two goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala has started all of Athletic's Copa del Rey matches this season and will return between the sticks on Thursday. He's unlikely to be joined by Yuri Berchiche though, after the left-back was substituted due to injury before half-time of Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Real Betis.

The 34-year-old is set to join former Manchester United midfielder Angel Herrera on the sidelines, and two could become three with central defender Yeray Alvarez also considered a doubt after missing the weekend's game.

Nico Williams missed the first-leg through injury but has played the last two league games and is free to face Atletico as the suspension for his red card against Betis is only applicable to La Liga.

The visitors are still without Cesar Azpilicueta, Jose Maria Gimenez, Thomas Lemar and Vitolo, while they are also sweating on the fitness of talisman Antoine Griezmann, who missed Saturday's 2-2 draw at Almeria with an ankle issue.

Simeone made changes against the rock-bottom La Liga club, but expect the likes of Alvaro Morata, Marcos Llorente, Axel Witsel and Saul Niguez to return to the starting XI on Thursday.

Match Odds

Athletic are 11/8 favourites to win the game inside 90 minutes on Thursday, with a victory for Atletico under the same conditions priced at 9/5. A draw, which would send the tie into extra time, is backable at 21/10.

There hasn't been a single occasion across the last five meetings between these sides where both teams have scored - it's 4/5 for that run to extend to six matches on Thursday, while you can back Athletic and Atletico to buck the trend and both score in regulation time at 10/11.

Athletic Bilbao or draw and both teams to score - Yes (90 mins) @ 6/4

These clubs have been allergic to a BTTS - Yes since Athletic won the second-leg of their Super Cup semi-final tie 2-1 in Riyadh in January 2022, but there are reasons to back the market here.

With Atletico a goal down, Simeone has no choice but to, at some stage, 'go for it'. That should lend itself to a more exciting encounter than one might ordinarily expect in this fixture, while at home, Athletic are programmed to attack and score goals. In fact, the Lions have found the net in their last 14 games at San Mames, scoring at least twice in 13 of them. They've also conceded in seven.

With a place in the final on the line, this should be a cracker. Ultimately though, I think the hosts have enough to hold out for at least a draw, with Atletico losing three of their last five games and looking fragile. The potential absence of Griezmann is also a big concern.

Athletic Club or draw & BTTS - Yes vs Atletico Madrid at 6-4

Alvaro Morata to score anytime (90 mins) @ 15/8

The 31-year-old hasn't started any of Atletico's last three games and has missed a couple of matches through injury this calendar year.

However, after back-to-back substitute appearances against Inter and Almeria, Morata looks primed to return to the starting XI on Thursday.

His presence will be even more significant if he is not joined by Griezmann in the attack, with the duo scoring 37 goals between them this term, nearly half their total of 80 across all competitions.

Morata has scored 19 of those, just under a quarter of his side's tally, but hasn't found the net since January 22. That hasn't been helped by his fitness, though, with the Spain international only starting three of the seven games he has played since that 1-0 win over Granada.

At 15/8, I think he's a decent price to find the net on Thursday.

Alvaro Morata to score anytime in Athletic Club vs Atletico Madrid at 15-8

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here.

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