Athletic Bilbao - Schalke Preview: Bielsa's men targeting second-leg victory after 4-2 success in Germany
The Basques can edge closer to European glory at San Mames, with much of the hard work accomplished in Gelsenkirchen in the first leg of their tie with the Royal Blues
By Enis Koylu
Iraola, Ekiza, Martinez, Aurtenetxe
Perez, De Marcos, Herrera
Susaeta, Llorente, Muniain
Uchida, Matip, Papadopoulos, Escudero
Farfan, Raul, Obasi
Having rested several key plays for Saturday's defeat to Barcelona, Marcelo Bielsa should reincorporate the likes of Ander Herrera, Iker Muniain and Fernando Llorente. Ibai Gomez and Gaizka Toquero are likely to settle for a place on the bench, while Ander Iturraspe and Fernando Amorebieta are suspended for this game.
For Schalke, Lars Unnerstall should make his European comeback, having surprisingly started against Hoffenheim on Sunday. However, fellow goalkeepers Ralf Fahrmann and Timo Hildebrand remain sidelined.
Benedikt Howedes and Christoph Metzelder are still injured and Huub Stevens will be without left-back Christian Fuchs, who is ill. In midfield Lewis Holtby is in with a chance to replace Marco Hoger, who disappointed in the 2-4 loss to Athletic Bilbao. As well, Stevens has decided to give left-winger Julian Draxler a rest during Thursday's match.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Athletic Bilbao have won all of their last four Europa League games.
- The last time a German side played at San Mames Werder Bremen ran out 3-0 winners against the Basque outfit in 2009.
- However, Bilbao, since losing to Thomas Schaaf's side, have not lost any of the seven subsequent home games in Europe.
- Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (pictured right) has scored a hat-trick in both of the last two rounds, but failed score in the first leg.
- He scored twice in a 5-2 win at San Mames in 2009, when playing for Real Madrid.
- The Royal Blues kept a clean sheet in all of their away games in the group stage, but have failed to win on their European travels since.
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Top 3 Predictions
Athletic de Bilbao 3-1 FC Schalke 04
- 14.42 %
Athletic de Bilbao 2-1 FC Schalke 04
- 13.78 %
Athletic de Bilbao 2-0 FC Schalke 04
- 11.06 %
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||5 Apr 2012||Athletic de Bilbao 2 - FC Schalke 04 2|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||29 Mar 2012||FC Schalke 04 2 - Athletic de Bilbao 4|
|Athletic de Bilbao|
|7 Dec 2013||Celta 1 - Athletic de Bilbao 0||ESPC|
|1 Dec 2013||Athletic de Bilbao 1 - FC Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|25 Nov 2013||Malaga 1 - Athletic de Bilbao 2||LIGA|
|9 Nov 2013||Athletic de Bilbao 2 - Levante UD 1||LIGA|
|3 Nov 2013||Atletico Madrid 2 - Athletic de Bilbao 0||LIGA|
|10||Óscar De Marcos||Midfielder|
|13||Raúl Fernández Mateos||Goalkeeper|
|6||Mikel San José Domínguez||Defender|
|19||Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi||Striker|
|17||Jefferson Agustin Farfán||Striker|
Times In IST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed