Tips Bet365 shows the Copa del Rey clash on Thursday between Athletic Bilbao and Levante, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Cup specialists Athletic Bilbao will try to stay on course for more cutlery when hosting raise in the first stage of Copa del rey semifinal on Thursday.
The Lions won the Supercopa de España last month and are still waiting to face Real Sociedad in the rescheduled Copa del Rey final last season, which will be held in April.
Levante have never won any major cups, but they will see this as a great opportunity to change that, as they are above Athletic in the La Liga table.
Athletic will consider itself extremely lucky to still be in contention for what could technically be a consecutive World Cup crown, after surviving a big scare in the last round.
Raul Garcia scored the equalizer in the 94th minute for Athletic against Real Betis, before the Basque team won 4-1 on penalties.
MarcellinThe team also played away in the previous two rounds, beating Ibiza and Alcoyano – the team that eliminated Real Madrid – by the same score 2-1.
Levante had to go through five rounds to get here, and most recently defeated Villarreal 1-0 in overtime in the quarter-finals, thanks to Roger Martithe last scare goal of.
Including Cup wins, the Frogs have been unbeaten for nine games since the beginning of January and are ninth in the La Liga with 27 points.
They are two points more than Atlético, 11th place, who drew 1-1 with Valencia in the last match of the championship.
The teams may be fighting for a place in Europe next season, but for now both teams will be fully focused on moving forward in the Copa del Rey.
The second leg of the tie is scheduled for Estadio Ciutat de Valencia on March 4, with the winners over 120 minutes – or potentially more – to face Barcelona or Sevilla in the final.
Athletic won 2-0 when the teams last met in the league four months ago – Lions’ fourth consecutive victory over Levante, each of those games in the league.
Athletic form of Bilbao in Copa del Rey: WWW
Atlético de Bilbao form (all competitions): WWWLWD
Levante Copa del Rey form: WWWWW
Levante form (all competitions): DDWWWD
Influential midfielder Iker Muniain Athletic’s draw with Valencia failed due to a blow and remains in doubt for this Cup tie.
Peru Nolaskoain and Mikel Balenziaga are the confirmed absentees of the home team, while Inigo Vicente tested positive for coronavirus last week and is isolating.
Inaki Williams and Asier Villalibre has five goals combined in his last eight matches and should lead the Athletic line.
As for visitors, Cheick Doukoure was back among the substitutes for a 2-2 draw with Granada on Saturday and could reach XI here.
Jorge de Frutos recovered from injury to play a bank role in the most recent match, however, leaving Jose Campana as the only confirmed absentee.
Possible starting lineup for Athletic Bilbao:
Simon; Lekue, Alvarez, Martinez, Berchiche; De Marcos, Garcia, Muniain, Berenguer; Villalibre, Garcia
Possible initial lineup of the Levante:
Cardenas; Coca, Postigo, Vezo, Tono; Radoja, Malsa; Filho, Rochina, Bardhi; Marti
Probability: Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Levante
Athletic Bilbao, two points less than Levante in La Liga, will try to make the home advantage worthwhile in this difficult two-legged tie.
Marcelino’s men have a good record in this game and tend to do well in national cup competitions, so we are suggesting that they have a small advantage in the return game.