Previewing Levante vs Athletic Club: LaLiga Matchday 36
Three games left, nine points to play for, and Athletic will likely need them all to qualify for Europe. Following losses to Real Madrid and Sevilla, the Basques sit three points off of Europe and the race for seventh place will go down to the wire. To keep hopes alive Athletic will need to win all three of the remaining games on the schedule, starting with Sunday’s trip to Levante.
Since taking over as manager, Gaizka Garitano has led Athletic to two wins against Levante with both taking place at San Mamés. However, Athletic’s last trip to Cuitad de València ended in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat which resulted in Garitano being promoted. The Basques will be hoping to keep the winning streak alive.
Unfortunately, Athletic will be without several key players. In addition to Yeray, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season, Yuri Berchiche, Ander Capa, and Beñat will all miss the game with muscle injuries. Dani García is also unavailable due to suspension. Because of the absences Garitano has called up Unai Vencedor and Dani Vivian for the trip to Levante.
With so many key players on the sidelines it will be even more difficult for Athletic to take all three points. Levante have been a dangerous side going forward, but have struggled defensively since the restart. Finishing chances will be Athletic’s biggest key to victory, along with defending well and keeping a clean sheet away from home.
A win on Sunday, coupled with a few favorable results from other games, could jettison Athletic back into the top seven. The race for Europe is far from over and Athletic will do everything possible to finish the season in Europe.
Projected Athletic Club XI: Unai Simón, Óscar De Marcos, Unai Núñez, Iñigo Martinez, Mikel Balenziaga, Mikel Vesga, Unai López, Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Iñigo Córdoba, Raúl García