Athletic Club vs Zilina 08/27/2015 UEFA Europa League Preview & Predictions
Zilina vs Athletic Club
Thursday 27th August 14:45(ET)
The Line: Atheltic Club 1/5 Draw 11/2 Zilina 12/1 See the Latest Odds
TV: Bt Sport; ESPN; Fox Sports
As games go in the Europa League this tie between Spanish side Athletic Club and Slovakia's Zilina is probably the most finely balanced as the away side hold a slender one goal advantage but Athletic have two away goals. A win for the home side should see them through to the knockout stages but having led 2-0 in Slovakia the Spanish side will be under no illusions about how difficult this tie is going to be. Zilina produced a terrific comeback in the first leg and inspired by their two prolific young strikers Jelic and Willian they carry a lead into this game and are only 90 minutes from a fairytale victory over one of the best sides in Spain and Europe.
Athletic Club themselves have had three energy sapping games against Barcelona over the space of two weeks and there is no doubt that their collapse against Zilina could in part have been caused by tiredness from playing two games against Barcelona in four days. Ernesto Valverde will look to Aduritz to lead the line for the home side and he has had a sensational start to the season scoring five goals in four games and looks every bit the leading striker that Athletic Club need him to be. With Sabin, Eraso and a host of young starlets this is a team that can challenge for honours both in Spain and in Europe.
Hard to make a case for Zilina here even if they did produce a terrific comeback in the first leg. I think the home team will go all out here and I expect Atheltic Club to cover the handicap comfortably. There should just be too much quality up front for the Spanish side and I am taking Athletic Club -1 in one of my favourite plays of the day on Thursday.