Bilbao Athletic Are Serious Contenders For Promotion
While Athletic Club has had a highly disappointing season, things have gone completely different for their reserve team, Bilbao Athletic. Upon Kuko Ziganda’s promotion to replace Ernesto Valverde last summer, the club hired Gaizka Garitano to take his place overseeing the reserves. Garitano was handed a very strong squad with high expectations and it is safe to say that he has led the team to an even better season than many saw coming.
It took the Cachorros until November to really start finding their best form, which isn’t surprising with several promotions and a new manager. Once the team figured out their identity they were able to string together victories and have been one of the best teams in the league. Garitano’s side currently find themselves tied for fourth in the table, which just so happens to be the final promotional playoff spot.
Looking ahead there are only six games remaining in the season with several teams in contention to make the playoffs. Luckily, all of Bilbao Athletic’s remaining fixtures are against clubs that aren’t even in the top half of the table. The Cachorros should, theoretically, be able to take away plenty of points to make a serious stab at the top four. It will take a lot of focus, but Garitano has the team firing on all cylinders and in perfect position for a strong finish to the season.
It will be a battle until the end but Gaizka Garitano’s side is in a really good place due to several factors. To begin with, the defense is playing at a high level while the attack is now getting goals from more than just Gorka Guruzeta. Players like Inigo Vicente and Peru Nolaskoain are also catching fire at the right time and midfielder Iker Undabarrena is finally back healthy which is a huge boost. The squad is in fine form and extremely balanced which has become a nightmare for opponents.
If Bilbao Athletic can manage a fourth place finish they will immediately participate in the playoffs to earn promotion to the second division. However, there is even a chance that they could qualify with a fifth-place finish due to the fact that Sporting B would not be able to be promoted if the senior side doesn’t make the jump to the Primera. Simply put, there is ample opportunity for the Cachorros to finish in the top four and be able to play their way into the Segunda. It definitely won’t be easy, especially competing in a playoff against other strong clubs, but this is a story to keep a close eye on as the season draws to an end.