Athletic Bilbao vs Real Mallorca Prediction: Back Bilbao to lift the Cup

 | April 05 | 

7 mins read

Mark Sochon's La Liga Tips

The Copa del Rey Final takes place on Saturday evening, with neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona taking part. This may be a bit of a surprise to casual watchers of Spanish Football but it does make for an interesting match-up.

The game will kick-off at 21:00 and our Spanish Football expert Mark Sochon has picked out his two Best Bets as part of his comprehensive match preview in his Athletic Bilbao vs Real Mallorca Predictions...

Athletic Bilbao vs Real Mallorca Betting Tips

  • Under 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score - NO @ 10/11
  • Athletic to win to nil @ 11/8

It’s Copa del Rey Final weekend in Spain, with Athletic Club and Mallorca making the trip to Seville’s Estadio de La Cartuja on Saturday night to fight it out for the cup.

A revamped format has helped serve up five different Copa del Rey winners in the last five years and that’s guaranteed to become six in six regardless of the outcome on Saturday.

It’s a simply massive football match for both clubs and their respective fanbases. Reports suggest more than 100,000 supporters could descend on Seville this weekend, many without tickets or accommodation for a game that, for reasons only known to the Spanish FA, will kick off at 22:00 local time, 21:00 in the UK.

Athletic are the strong favourites and they are the second most successful team in the competition’s history, with 23 titles in total, which is more than Real Madrid. However, the most recent of those was way back in their double winning 1983/84 season. Athletic haven’t won one of Spain’s big two trophies since, so Ernesto Valverde’s side will carry the weight of history as they bid to end 40 years of hurt.

Mallorca have only ever won three major trophies but they’ve tasted more recent success than their opponents in this competition, winning the Copa del Rey back in 2003 when a strike-force of Samuel Eto’o and Walter Pandiani fired them to the trophy.

The onus will be on the side from the Basque Country to force the tempo in this game and break down what’s likely to be a very defensive set-up from Mallorca.

Athletic are worthy favourites given the excellent campaign they are having. They are pushing hard for Champions League qualification via the league and have impressively seen off Barcelona and Atlético Madrid to reach the Copa del Rey Final, with the latter confidently dispatched 4-0 over two legs in the Semis.

They’re a really strong unit, with much of their attacking inspiration coming from the wing duo of brothers Iñaki and Nico Williams. They set up one another for fine goals as Athletic raced into a 2-0 lead in the Second Leg of the Semi Final against Diego Simeone’s side while Iñaki’s status as a modern day club legend only grew when he flew back from AFCON duty in rapid time to come off the bench and score the decisive goal in the last eight against Barca.

Few could argue that Athletic are anything but the stronger team, but Mallorca can take some encouragement from the inability of the Basque side to play their best football away from the cauldron that is San Mames.

With veteran coach Javier Aguirre at the helm and a solid defensive structure that should make them tough to break down, Mallorca are looking to play the role of party poopers, with few pundits expecting them to end up with the trophy on Saturday night.

They are no stranger to the underdogs tag though, having seen off Girona and Real Sociedad en-route to the Final. They unexpectedly defeated the latter on penalties after a tension fuelled 210 minutes of action produced just one goal for each team.

Mallorca scored with their only shot on target across the two legs against La Real and while they are a team that offers a relatively limited goal threat, they’ve shown in recent weeks in La Liga why they shouldn’t be written off here. Since the Second Leg of their Semi, the Balearic Islanders have conceded only one goal in four league outings and that was a special strike from Barcelona wonderkid Lamine Yamal.

Team News:

Both coaches should have the luxury of picking from virtually full squads with very limited selection issues for Ernesto Valverde and Javier Aguirre heading into this Final.

Athletic do have a doubt over central defender Yeray Alvarez but he has missed much of the season in any case, with Dani Vivian and Aitor Paredes forming a strong partnership in his absence.

It’s likely to be 5-3-2 from Mallorca, with the only doubt over the availability of Omar Mascarell. Vedat Muriqi and Cyle Larin are expected to form the front two, although Aguirre could opt to go even more cautiously by playing an extra midfielder, with Larin potentially dropping to the bench.

The most significant deviation from the regular league elevens will be in goal, with both coaches expected to stick with their cup keepers. That should mean starts for Julen Agirrezabala and Dominik Greif who have both impressed in the competition this season.

Athletic Bilbao vs Real Mallorca Odds:

Athletic come into the game with the pressure of the favourites tag in contrast to their last five Copa del Rey Finals which have all ended in defeat, four of them against Barcelona.

The Basques are 8/13 in the Match Result market on Saturday night, with Mallorca on offer at 4/1. The Draw is priced at 12/5 which would see the game go to Extra Time and potentially penalties.

The expectation is that this will be a tight and most likely low scoring game. Under 2.5 Goals is priced at 4/7 with Under 1.5 Goals on offer at 7/4. You can also back Both Teams to Score - NO at 8/13 while an Athletic Clean Sheet is available at 9/10.

Both sides should have all their best attacking options available. Athletic striker Gorka Guruzeta leads the goalscorer markets at 7/2 to score first and 7/5 to score anytime. As for the Williams brothers, Iñaki is 2/1 to score anytime, while Nico is 100/30 to score anytime.

Powerful Kosovo striker Vedat Muriqi is perhaps the most likely goal threat from Mallorca and he’s 17/2 to score first and 100/30 to score anytime.

Bet 1 - Under 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score - NO @ 10/11

With the stakes so high and Mallorca typically adopting a defensive approach, it’s hard to see this Final developing into a classic. Athletic may need to be patient as they seek a breakthrough against a side that will be happy to let their opponents have much of the ball and territory.

Unless we get an early goal, this feels like a match that’s very unlikely to produce more than a goal or two and it’s worth noting that 71% of Mallorca matches in 2024 have produced under 2.5 goals with all of their last four games ending with either 0-0 or 1-0 scorelines.

I’m backing something similar here and am using the #PickYourPunt tool to go with Under 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score - NO at 10/11.

Bet 2 - Athletic to win to nil @ 11/8

As long as they can deal with the occasion and expectation levels that they deliver a first Copa del Rey title since 1984, Athletic do have sufficient quality to break down Mallorca at some point in this game and claim the victory.

They can take confidence from a 4-0 win when the sides met in Bilbao in February, although that was a rare off day for an otherwise solid Mallorca defence that frustrated Athletic into a goalless draw when the sides met in Palma earlier in the campaign.

Against opponents that are likely to drop deep, this may be a game for the tricky Nico Williams who is more than capable of producing a moment of magic and that may be all it takes to decide this so I’m also going with Athletic to win to nil at 11/8.

You can check out Mark's La Liga Betting Tips along with those from the rest of the Betfred Insights Spanish Football writers on our La Liga home page...

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