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Primera División

  • April 27, 2013
  • • 17:00
  • • Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
  • Referee: Ignacio Iglesias
  • • Attendance: 39750
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Athletic Bilbao-Barcelona Preview: Deflated Blaugrana aim to wrap up Liga title

Athletic Bilbao-Barcelona Preview: Deflated Blaugrana aim to wrap up Liga title

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Tito Vilanova's side can bounce back from disappointment in Europe by clinching their 22nd domestic championship at San Mames, provided results elsewhere also go their way

  PROBABLE LINEUPS
ATHLETIC BILBAO

Iraizoz
Iraola, Ekiza, San Jose, Aurtenetxe
De Marcos, Gurpegui, Herrera
Susaeta, Llorente, Muniain
BARCELONA

Valdes
Montoya, Adriano, Abidal, Alba
Thiago, Song, Fabregas
Tello, Villa, Sanchez

Athletic Bilbao duo Fernando Amorebieta and Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta have recovered from knee injuries and could feature against Barcelona on Saturday.

However, defender Aymeric Laporte has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee problem, while midfielder Ander Iturraspe is suspended after his red card against Deportivo La Coruna last Sunday.

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is expected to make wholesale changes to the side that crashed to a 4-0 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

Defenders Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano remain sidelined through injury but Adriano is available after serving a European ban.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Athletic Bilbao have only won three of their last 10 matches in La Liga (W3, D1, L6).
  • Los Leones have lost five of their last six Liga meetings with Barcelona.
  • Athletic's last home win over Barca was a 3-1 success in La Liga in May 2006.
  • Barcelona have won just one of their last six away games in all competitions (W1, D2, L3).
  • The Catalan side will clinch the Liga title if they beat Athletic Bilbao and second-placed Real Madrid lose against Atletico Madrid.
  • Cesc Fabregas (pictured, right) has scored four goals in his last three Liga appearances for Barca.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1IraizozGoalkeeper
3AurtenetxeDefender
6Mikel San José DomínguezDefender
15Andoni IraolaDefender
23Borja EkizaDefender
14SusaetaMidfielder
18Carlos GurpeguiMidfielder
21Ander HerreraMidfielder
10Óscar De MarcosMidfielder
19MuniainStriker
20Aritz Aduriz ZubeldiaStriker
13Raúl Fernández MateosGoalkeeper
-Xabi CastilloDefender
31RamalhoDefender
2ToqueroStriker
14Fernando LlorenteStriker
11Ibai GómezStriker
-Ismael LópezStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
3PiquéDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
22Éric AbidalDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
9Alexis SánchezStriker
7PedroStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
15BartraDefender
21AdrianoDefender
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
7David VillaStriker
10MessiStriker
20TelloStriker
Players to Watch
Carlos Gurpegui
Carlos Gurpegui
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 18
Games Goals YC RC
27 2 8 0
The Athletic Bilbao skipper is likely to be pushed into a defensive midfield role from his central-back slot to cover for the suspended Ander Iturraspe. Gurpegui will hope to take a leaf out of Bayern Munich's performance in midweek and nullify Barcelona's goal threat.
Cesc Fàbregas
Cesc Fàbregas
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The former Arsenal midfielder will be out to prove a point after being left as an unused substitute in the midweek loss against Bayern. Fabregas has been in a decent run of goalscoring form and will be keen to put forward his case for inclusion in the team for Wednesday's return leg by performing well at San Mames.
Prediction
Barca were left in shock by the size and the manner of their defeat against Bayern but they will be motivated by the possibility of clinching their fourth Liga title in five years at San Mames. Athletic are in a dire run of form and could struggle to take advantage of the deflated mood in the visitors' camp.
Editor's Prediction
Bilbao 1

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