Athletic Bilbao vs Real Sociedad

May 10, 2014
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

While the La Liga table would suggest there will be little to play for when the two sides meet at the New San Mames, with Athletic having secured Champions League qualification and Real Sociedad qualifying for Europa League, a win in the Basque Derby would be a pefect way to end another successful season for one of the two teams.

Athletic secure Champions League football

Athletic Bilbao have done really well to end a 15-year wait for Champions League football, with los Leones clinching a top 4 place with two games to go. This has got to be considered a major feat in a league as strong as La Liga, but everybody agrees this is a just reward for everything Ernesto Valverde’s charges have shown this term. While seriously raising their away form to pick up 26 points from 18 matches on the road, Athletic were able to turn the New San Mames into a genuine fortress in their first season since switching to the new venue. The 13-3-2 home record is quite impressive in itself, while we also need to have in mind that los Leones completely outclassed both Barcelona and Real Madrid on home soil. And with the team in excellent form at the moment and under no pressure having secured Champions League qualification, this match would feel as a perfect opportunity to improve on somewhat poor record in the Basque derbies. The hosts will feel the absence of Aritz Aduriz, but their bitter rivals will have problems surviving the constant pressure from los Leones.

Aritz Aduriz will be rested before he undergoes a surgery on a pubis injury, but Iker Muniain returns from suspension. Ibai Gomez, Carlos Gurpegui, Guillermo Fernandez, Borja Ekiza and Kike Sola are out injured.

Tumultuous season for Real Sociedad

In spite of the dismal start to the season, Real Sociedad have managed to turn things around and secure Europa League qualification, while the short Champions League campaign seems to have prevented the team from mounting a top 4 challenge in La Liga. La Real did seriously raise their form once they crashed out of Europe, but the players didn’t have enough fuel in the tank to keep up with outstanding Athletic Bilbao in the top 4 race. Jagoba Arrasate’s side have been pretty inconsistent of late and while their home performances were pretty good, the team have been largely struggling on the road. Real Sociedad not only lost last four away matches against top table sides, but also conceded no less than 15 goals in the process, which is enough to suggest they are in for a difficult night in Bilbao. The visitors will be low on confidence after conceding a very late goal that denied them the three points against Granada, with another great performance from revived Sergio Canales the only positive from the game.

Centre-back Mikel Gonzalez misses out through suspension, but the good news is Jagoba Arrasate has no injury worries at the moment.


Athletic Bilbao have been quite impressive at the New San Mames this season and they go into the local derby high on confidence. Meanwhile, Real Sociedad largely struggle when facing the top sides on the road and they will not exactly relish the opportunity of playing los Leones this weekend.

Top pick: Home win   1.87 (20/23) @ BetVictor

Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score   1.60 (3/5) @ Ladbrokes

Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals   1.60 (3/5) @ 888sport

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