Athletic Staying Close To Home For Preseason Friendlies
For the first team in several years Athletic will not be traveling abroad during preseason. It’s become common practice for the Lions to make a trip to another country during the summer to train for a week and play friendlies, but that won’t be possible given the recent pandemic. Instead, Athletic will spend the entire preseason at Lezama and will play friendlies as close to home as possible.
The players will undergo medicals starting on 10 August with the entire team scheduled to report back to Lezama to begin training on 13 August. With the La Liga season set to kick off on 12 September, Athletic will have one month to prepare for the upcoming campaign. Playing friendlies will be an important part of getting ready and the club already has one game on the calendar.
Athletic recently announced that they will host Alavés at Lezama on 2 September. It may very well be the final friendly of the summer before the season starts and other games are currently in the works. According to a report from Juanma Velasco of Marca, Athletic are finalizing friendlies against Leioa and Logroñés with Eibar also a possible opponent this summer.
If confirmed, the match against Leioa would be one of the first friendlies of the preseason and would take place at Sarriena, roughly 15 minutes away from the city of Bilbao. Recently promoted Logroñés is another likely opponent with the two clubs negotiating a friendly to be played at Las Gaunas towards the end of August.
It’s uncertain just how many friendlies Athletic will try to schedule this summer, but with just one month to prepare for the season the club must balance playing games with having enough practice time. To begin with, the team will train twice a day during the preseason and the work will be intense as the team looks to challenge for a top seven finish in the La Liga table.
In other news, Athletic are also said to be planning a special friendly to be played at San Mamés once fans are allowed back in stadiums. For the tribute to the fans, Athletic want to host a European club and already have an “extensive list” of possible opponents which includes Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. The match would theoretically take place well into the 2020/2021 season.