Previewing Logroñés vs Athletic Club: Preseason Friendly

Nico Serrano Training

Young players will take center stage in the Logroñés friendly (AC)

The new La Liga season is just around the corner. In just three weeks Athletic will take the field to begin another campaign where the Lions will be expected to challenge for European qualification while also having a chance to lift the coveted Copa del Rey title. Preparations began two weeks ago with preseason training at Lezama and tomorrow Athletic will travel to Las Gaunas to face Logroñés in the first friendly of the summer.

Gaizka Garitano will be without 11 first team players with 6 having tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago and 5 others still recovering from various injuries. As a result, the Mister has called up 8 players from Bilbao Athletic in addition to Jokin Ezkieta, Unai Vencedor, and Oier Zarraga who were already included in the squad for preseason training.

With so many key players missing out Saturday’s friendly will be a terrific opportunity for the likes of Iñigo Vicente and Vencedor who are fighting for their place in the squad, as well as others such as Nico Serrano and Ewan Urain who will get their first taste of first team football.

In total, Garitano called up 22 players for the trip to Las Gaunas and will likely change most, if not all, of the lineup at halftime. Everyone will have the opportunity to see the field. For the first friendly of the summer the most important thing will be playing well and building a rhythm, not the final result. Of course, returning to Bilbao with a victory would be great to build morale, but the overall team performance will be the main focus.

Projected Athletic Club XI: Jokin Ezkieta, Iñigo Lekue, Jon Sillero, Oier Luengo, Mikel Balenziaga, Unai Vencedor, Beñat Prados, Iker Muniain, Oier Zarraga, Iñigo Vicente, Asier Villalibre

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