Unlike in Romania, Rivaldo will not be in Spain to support his son Rivaldinho but the Brazilian forward is expected to once again lead the Romanian giants into a potential upset against the Basque side. Bilbao do have an away goal to hold on but the fixture is far away from being over.
Athletic still warming up
Legs are heavy as preseason draws to a close for Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side have been rather inconsistent throughout the preparation period, but the 3-0 friendly win over Reus Deportiu will have picked up the spirits ahead of crucial return leg against Dinamo Bucuresti. Goals from San Jose, Aketxe and Williams were enough for Athletic Bilbao to seal a comfortable win and gain a slight morale boost ahead of the competitive match against the Romanians. It’s been an eventful summer for Athletic having in mind that they lost their head coach Ernesto Valverde, who is now in charge of Barcelona. Athletic Bilbao B head coach Jose Angel Ziganda has been promoted to a first-team manager as Basque side looks to avoid to disrupt the team balance. Athletic Bilbao’s recruitment policy is holding back the club from bringing in players as they only look to bolster their ranks with Basque-born players. Mikel Merino was seen as the first summer signing but the midfielder ended up heading to Newcastle which left Athletic with pretty much the same team as last year.
Mikel Rico’s availability is a huge doubt for the hosts. Midfielder Ander Iturraspe has been sidelined with a muscle injury while Yerai Alvarez is ill.
Dinamo ready for the big test
Encouraged by their morale-boosting 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Athletic Bilbao tie, Dinamo Bucuresti went on to record an important domestic win. The Romania’s finest are coming off from a 1-0 victory at Viitorul courtesy of the late Costache winner. Dinamo could have won by a much bigger margin but they almost paid the price for their lack of composure upfront with a couple of open-goal missed and clear-cut chances ruined. Costache did well to keep the momentum going as the Romanians travel to Spain looking to show they are no pushovers and that 1-1 draw from the first leg came as no coincidence. Rivaldinho, son of the Brazilian legend and former Barcelona star Rivaldo, scored a thunderbolt goal in the first match and is expected to lead his team forward in an important test in Spain. Dinamo boosted their ranks with a couple of notable players such as former Getafe man Paul Anton and Cosmin Contra will have it all laid down in front of him in attempt to record a memorable result against Athletic.
The visitors will have no selection issues for the forthcoming fixture. Cosmin Contra could ring some changes though with Paul Anton and Juan Albin knocking on the first-team door.
Athletic Bilbao are slowly gaining momentum ahead of the new season, but Dinamo Bucuresti will be hoping high confidence would be enough to compensate the obvious lack of quality compared to their Europa League rivals. We should expect to see an openly contested match as Dinamo have nothing to wait with their rivals carrying an away goal into the match.
Top pick: Draw/Athletic 3.75 (11/4) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 1: Athletic to win and BTTS 3.75 (11/4) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 1.67 (4/6) @BetVictor