Gaizka Toquero Tips Alavés To Win Sunday’s Derby Against Athletic Club
In the world of football Gaizka Toquero may never be considered one of the best players, but for Athletic and Alavés fans he’s a legend. Having spent time at both Basque clubs, Toquero was a fan favorite and earned the nickname Lehendakari, Basque for President. Ahead of Sunday’s Derby between the two rivals, Toquero joined Radio Marca Vitoria where he tipped Alavés to win the match at Mendizorrotza.
“Taking away the Copa del Rey, which is giving them joy, Athletic haven’t been well in the league. They aren’t in a good dynamic, they aren’t comfortable, and I think it’s a good time for Alavés to catch Athletic. Surely it will be a difficult game, but right now Athletic aren’t in their best moment.”
Although Alavés have been strong in attack this season, Toquero admits that Athletic’s defense could make things really difficult in Vitoria. In the end, the winner of a Basque Derby is normally the team that comes out with more intensity.
“A Derby is always a different game and the one that comes out with more desire can often win. I see an Alavés who can get all three points against Athletic. I think it’s going to be a match with few goals because Athletic has one of La Liga’s best defenses with Yuri, Capa, Iñigo Martinez, Yeray, and Unai Núñez when Gaizka Garitano uses five defenders. They’re very good and difficult to beat.”
Athletic have had problems in front of goal this season, though Toquero recognized one forward who could be key to a victory for the Lions. “The Alavés defense will have problems with the speed of Iñaki Williams,” said the former striker. “Whoever scores first will have a great chance of winning because I think this is a game in which the defenses are going to have to work a lot.”
Alavés have been strong at home this season and will make things very difficult for Athletic in Sunday’s Derby. The Lions have managed just one win in Vitoria in their last four visits.
“In recent years, coming to play at Mendizorrotza hasn’t been easy for visiting teams. Alavés don’t lose a lot of games at home and when they do the opponent had things very difficult. Many teams have come through Mendizorrotza, stronger teams, and haven’t won or even scored goals.”
Having gone nine straight league games without a win a victory this weekend is absolutely necessary for Athletic. Gaizka Garitano’s side have had the entire week to prepare for the match and are eager to put an end to the unfortunate streak to start moving up the table.