Mikel Balenziaga In Line To Start Against Real Betis, Iker Muniain Returns To Training On Thursday

Mikel Balenziaga training

Mikel Balenziaga could start over Yuri Berchiche on Sunday (AC)

Coming off of a huge performance against Real Madrid has left Athletic Club with a desire for more. On Sunday they will travel to the Benito Villamarín for their first away game of the season against Real Betis and the Lions are working hard in preparation. As has usually been the case so far under Eduardo Berizzo, the team has trained mostly in private but there were a few things to take note of on Thursday.

To begin with, the team played a full-field scrimmage and the starting lineup saw the addition of Mikel Balenziaga according to Juanma Velasco of Marca. The 30-year-old has yet to feature so far this season but now looks to be in line to start against Betis on Sunday. With a match against Villarreal just three days later it appears as though Berizzo is looking to give Yuri Berchiche a break this weekend.

The best news of the day is that Iker Muniain was able to return to training. The 25-year-old suffered a calf bruise against Real Madrid and sat out of Tuesday and Wednesday’s training sessions with soreness. Although he did not participate in every drill out of precaution there didn’t seem to be any limitations for the midfielder. If Muniain continues to train well he is expected to be available for Sunday’s match.

We have finally reached the point of the season where coaches have to start rotating their players. Athletic face a strong test against Real Betis on Sunday but Wednesday’s match against Villarreal won’t be any easier. Although Muniain may be cleared in time to play, Berizzo could choose to keep him out this weekend with an eye on the midweek fixture. Regardless, this is one of the deepest Athletic squads in recent memory which gives Toto plenty of options to work with.

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