Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Predictions

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid predictions for Thursday’s Copa del Rey clash. Athletic’s strong home record poses a challenge for the capital’s visitors, suggesting a competitive encounter. Read on for our free match preview and betting tips

Athletic Bilbao
Atletico Madrid

Copa del Rey | Semi-Finals | 2nd Leg – Feb 29, 2024 at 8.30pm UK at San Mames Barria

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Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Predictions

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A Duel of Destiny: Athletic and Atletico’s Fight for Final Glory

Key Stats
– Athletic Bilbao boasts a near-impenetrable fortress at San Mamés, losing only once at home this season.
– Atletico Madrid’s away form has been their Achilles’ heel, with just one win in their last eight league games on the road.
– The first leg’s narrow margin sets the stage for a tactical showdown, with both teams having everything to play for.

As winter’s chill gives way to the promise of spring, the hallowed turf of Estadio San Mamés prepares to host a clash of titans, a duel for the ages, as Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid vie for a coveted spot in the Copa del Rey final. The backdrop is set for a dramatic encounter, with the Basques holding a slender advantage from the first leg, setting the stage for an enthralling showdown against the resilient “mattress makers.”


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A Clash of Ambitions and Styles

Athletic Bilbao, under the astute guidance of Ernesto Valverde, have emerged as a formidable force, challenging for European glory while showcasing a brand of football that is both captivating and effective. Their journey to the semifinals, marked by victories over giants such as Barcelona, is a testament to their resilience and tactical acumen. However, the recent stumble against Real Betis serves as a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.

In contrast, Atletico Madrid’s campaign has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Diego Simeone’s charges have struggled to find consistency, with their European aspirations hanging by a thread following a series of lacklustre performances. Yet, their pedigree in knockout competitions cannot be underestimated, and the Argentine tactician will be desperate to orchestrate a turnaround, starting with a pivotal victory in Bilbao.

Tactical Battle: Where the Game Will Be Won or Lost

The midfield battle promises to be a fascinating duel, with both teams boasting enigmatic talents capable of turning the tide in their favour. Athletic’s prowess at home, underscored by a formidable record at San Mamés, will be put to the test against Atletico’s tactical discipline and counter-attacking threat. The key for Athletic lies in exploiting Atletico’s recent defensive vulnerabilities, while the visitors must find a way to contain Bilbao’s dynamic attacking duo, Iñaki Williams and Gorka Guruzeta.

Moreover, the wide areas present an intriguing subplot, with Yuri Berchiche and Óscar de Marcos poised to play pivotal roles for the Basques. Their ability to stretch Atletico’s defence and provide quality deliveries could prove decisive. Conversely, Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann and Álvaro Morata will be crucial in executing Simeone’s counter-attacking blueprint, seeking to exploit spaces behind Athletic’s adventurous full-backs.

Prognosis and Suggestions for Improvement

For Athletic, the emphasis must be on maintaining their impressive home form while seeking to improve their efficiency in front of goal. The margin for error is slim, and Valverde’s men must capitalise on their chances to avoid a nerve-wracking finale. Atletico, on the other hand, face a daunting task of overturning the deficit. Simeone must address his team’s recent lack of creativity and defensive lapses, possibly by tweaking his midfield setup to provide additional support to the frontline.

The Critique: Simeone’s Strategic Dilemma

While Valverde’s tenure at Athletic has been marked by progress and stability, it is Simeone who finds himself at a crossroads. The Argentine’s conservative approach has come under scrutiny, with critics arguing that Atletico’s predictable tactics have stifled their attacking verve. A bold strategy, possibly involving a more attacking formation and proactive substitutions, could be the key to revitalising Atletico’s fortunes.


1. Match Outcome Prediction: Draw

Given Athletic’s formidable home record and Atletico’s resilience in do-or-die encounters, a stalemate seems a plausible outcome. This prediction hinges on Atletico’s ability to neutralise Athletic’s attacking threat while posing their own dangers on the break.

2. Correct Score Prediction: Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Atletico Madrid

A tightly contested affair is expected, with both teams finding the back of the net. This scoreline reflects the balance of play, with Atletico managing to breach Athletic’s defence but ultimately falling short of a comeback.

3. Goalscorer Prediction: Gorka Guruzeta to Score

Guruzeta’s knack for crucial goals, coupled with Athletic’s emphasis on attacking play at home, positions him as a prime candidate to leave his mark on this encounter.

4. Team to Score First: Athletic Bilbao

Athletic’s propensity to start strongly at San Mamés, combined with Atletico’s recent defensive woes, suggests that the Basques will open the scoring, setting the tone for an enthralling match.

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Gerard Gabasa
Gerard Gabasa is our go-to football expert for all things Spanish. His passion for the game is evident in every analysis he offers. Having played professionally with Málaga's youth team, Gerard blends firsthand experience with deep insights. While he didn't ascend to the senior ranks, this stint enriched his understanding of the game's nuances. Over the years, Gerard has crafted in-depth match analyses and player evaluations that showcase his profound knowledge. With Gerard, expect a seasoned perspective on Spanish football every time.