Match preview: Atlético vs Athletic

Rojiblancos look to continue their strong form against formidable opposition

Filipe will be available despite seeing red Thursday  (

Filipe will be available despite seeing red Thursday

After nabbing three points on the road midweek, Atlético receive Athletic, as they seek to keep the pressure on leaders Barcelona.

Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 17:00 CET on Sunday.

Though Atlético weren’t at their best by any measure, they delivered a spirited performance to win at Granada on Wednesday. Two penalties, scored by Diego Costa and David Villa, decided the game.

Right now, the Colchoneros sit five points ahead of third-place Real Madrid, who meet Rayo on Saturday evening, but four behind leaders Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand.

Last season, Atlético crushed Athletic in the corresponding fixture, with then star forward Falcao completing a hat-trick before substitute Tiago added a fourth near the end.

But the last time the two sides encountered each other, in January, the tables were turned, as the Basques put three past Courtois in a comprehensive away defeat for the Madrileños.

Athletic have enjoyed a strong start to the season and currently sit fifth in La Liga. But while their form at home has been very good, los Leones have struggled outside of their new San Mamés.

After defeating Valladolid on the opening day of the season, Athletic lost three away games on the trot, before getting their second away win at Getafe on Monday.

In his comments to the press on Saturday, Diego Simeone made it clear that the Basques are formidable opponents who won’t be easily overcome.

The Argentine admitted that “after the wear and tear” his side suffered at Granada, Sunday’s clash will be “a game with a lot of effort,” stressing the need to respond well physically and tactically in a demanding week.

With a relatively small squad, the Colchoneros owe their success in part to the work of ‘El Profe’ Ortega, whose fitness regimes have kept players in excellent shape as they navigate a packed fixture list.

Cholo was full of praise for his “friend” Ortega. “One of the best things that have happened to me as a manager is having the professionalism of El Profe Ortega to rely on,” he said.

Léo Baptistão returns to the squad after recovering from the ankle sprain he suffered in training two weeks ago, but Arda and Aranzubia continue to struggle with their physical problems.

Mario will miss out as well. The midfielder made a speedy recovery from a knee sprain in September, but he’s experiencing discomfort resulting from that injury again, and will need further tests.

Due to LFP rules, Filipe’s one-match suspension applies to Atlético’s game next week, away at Villarreal, so the Brazilian is available tomorrow against Athletic.

Asked about his injured absentees, Simeone replied: “The important thing is that when they return, they’re well. Time is important to recover well.”

Meanwhile, Iraizoz is likely to return to the Athletic goal in place of Herrerín, who deputised for him midweek, while Toquero will step aside for Aduriz again as the main forward.

Atlético match selection:

Goalkeepers: Courtois, Bounou
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Giménez, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi, Guilavogui, Óliver
Forwards: Adrián, Villa, Diego Costa, Baptistão

Athletic match selection:


Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes

  • kris

    We need our defenders and our defensive mids to be very sharp this game. We all know of the quality Athletic have in the center with players such as Benat, Herrera and Ibai, Toquera and other great players. And their wings are extremely talented with Susaeta on the right and Muniain on the left. This is a match of challenge, and I believe Atleti can overcome this challenge with a great performance and a win. I am predicting Club Atletico de Madrid 2-1 Athletic Club Bilbao.

  • kris

    Aupa Atleti!

  • EC

    This is one of the toughest tests of our season so we can’t afford to play badly. Iam gonna go for 1-0 or 2-1 Atleti. I’ve been a bit concerned at our recent away performances so we need to keep playing well at home. Hopefully Vallecano can’t get something from Real although I fear they will get beat about 0-5

  • EC


  • Maybe play Insua anyways, so Filipe can focus on the Austria Wien game and Insua keeps rhythm this way.

    Manquillo might start as well, although I think he’ll play against the austrians.
    I think two defenders, one wing- and one centerback, will be dropped and one of Cebolla, Guilavogui, Oliver and Leo, which would make for an 18-man list.

  • pantic#10

    Leo is back. good, we need him. now we have all our forwards available: Diego Costa, Villa, Leo & Adrian.
    Bilbao after an awful season, is again competitive.
    difficult match, but we’ll win.

  • kris

    Tiago and Adrian start in place of Mario and Arda respectively. Other than those two, there are no changes in the initial lineup. Adrian is given this chance one more time, let’s see what he has to offer today.. I hope he does well..

  • Jeronamo

    I guess I’m the only one who wishes oli would start

  • kris

    Jeronamo, as a coach, if you want your player to become one of the best in the game in the future, you have to do it slowly, give him development time and start him every other game and give him some time as a substitute every game.. I think Simeone knows what he is doing, you also have to give Adrian some time as well. He’s still young and was a big part of our successful Europa League campaign. If you want to stabilize your team, you have to keep every single player in the team happy. I believe that’s exactly Cholo is doing.

  • kris

    What the hell is this goddamn ref doing?

  • kris


  • kris


  • kris

    Another beautiful goal by Diego Costa.. Who can stop this beast/?? WHO CAN STOP THIS BEAST?? Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And we are up 2-0.

  • kris

    Awesome stuff, we are up 2-0 at the end of the 1st half. Both of our strikers scoring, some lovely football.

  • pantic#10

    damn…i’m not enjoying this match because the streaming continues to skip 🙁
    anyway good performance so far.
    Villa & Costa!

  • Jeronamo


  • Jeronamo

    Kris I never said every game and every young player can’t be handled the same, if that were true iker munian would have been destroyed by now. All I’m saying is I wish he started jeezed

  • kris

    lol I know what you meant, but Adrian needs to play too. He did great today as a winger. So, everybody deserves chances, and Oliver’s chances are coming soon too. Just have faith in Cholo. Anyways, we won today, deservedly and dominantly so. That’s all that matters. Aupa Atleti!

  • Jeronamo

    True. A shame we didn’t score there at the end but I enjoyed the performance along with the result. AUPA ATLETI!!!