On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid will host Athletic Bilbao at the Civitas Metropolitano for the Copa del Rey semi-finals’ first leg.
Atleti hasn’t lost in six games, while Bilbao has not been defeated in their last three matches.
Atletico comes into this game after a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid on Sunday.
Diego Simeone’s team was close to losing after Brahim Diaz scored, but Marcos Llorente scored in stoppage time to tie the game.
They’re now focusing on the Copa del Rey, hoping to win it for the 11th time, the first since the 2012-13 season.
Atleti reached the semi-final, their first in seven years, by beating Lugo and then Real Madrid in earlier rounds.
They’re strong at home, not losing in their last 28 games at the Metropolitano since a loss to Barcelona in January 2023.
Atletico has also done well at home against Athletic, winning 11 of the last 13 meetings.
Athletic had to beat five teams to reach the semi-final, including a notable win over Barcelona last month.
They haven’t won the Copa del Rey since 1984 and have been runners-up six times since then, including twice in 2021.
Heading into the semi-final for the fifth straight year, they’re encouraged by a recent 4-0 league win over Mallorca and a win against Atletico in December.
Atletico Madrid Copa del Rey form:
W W W
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
W W W W W D
Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey form:
W W W W W
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
W W L W D W
Atletico can’t use Cesar Azpilicueta and Thomas Lemar due to injuries.
Jose Maria Gimenez might miss out again with a muscle issue, but he’s getting better.
Reinildo Mandava could return to the lineup, and there might be changes with Nahuel Molina, Pablo Barrios, and Samuel Lino possibly starting.
For Bilbao, Nico Williams might not play due to a thigh injury, but his brother Inaki Williams should be ready despite a recent knock.
Inigo Lekue and Alex Berenguer are back in training and could play.
Julen Agirrezabala will likely replace Unai Simon as goalkeeper.
Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Hermoso, Witsel, Reinildo;
Molina, De Paul, Koke, Saul, Lino;
Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Lekue, Vivian, Paredes, Berchiche;
Ruiz de Galaretta, Prados Diaz;
I. Williams, Sancet, Ares;
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao
Atletico has been unbeatable at home for over a year and has a good record against Athletic. We believe the hosts will secure a slim win in this semi-final’s first leg.