Athletic Club ended their training trip to Holland on Saturday by competing in the Traditions Cup in Germany. The preseason tournament also featured Fulham, Fiorentina, and host side Duisburg. Seeing as how the matches were only 45 minutes long it was a bit unconventional, but the Lions were hoping for a good showing and the chance to continue growing under new manager Eduardo Berizzo.
The Basques played their first match against Fulham and were sharp from the start. Just five minutes into the game Oscar De Marcos set up Aritz Aduriz for the opening goal and from there it looked like the Lions would be in complete control. Midfielder Iker Muniain and Dani García played at very high levels, but the English side refused to be beaten without putting up a fight.
Kebano was eventually able to equalize with a strong shot in the box and it didn’t take Fulham long to find a second goal. A long shot from Kamara beat Iago Herrerín to make it 2-1 and things began to look bleak. Athletic pushed for an equalizer but were finished off when Yeray put the ball into his own net for an unfortunate own goal. The match finished at 3-1 and the Lions would then have to play Duisburg for third place.
Eduardo Berizzo started a completely different lineup against Duisburg and, once again, Athletic looked very good. Mikel Rico was able to score the opening goal and the hosts were forced to defend deep in their own end. Iñaki Williams and Gorka Guruzeta both had some good chances, while Unai López controlled everything in midfield. However, it was poor defending from Mikel San José that saw Cauly score a header to level the score. The game would finally end 1-1 and the decision was made to not determine a winner through penalties.
Despite not picking up a single win in Germany, Athletic looked very good for most of the two matches. The team pressed well, created chances, and showed a defined style. However, it was defensive errors and individual mistakes that ultimately downed the Lions. Eduardo Berizzo remains firm in his belief that the issues are more due to fatigue at the moment and says that his players will be ready for the start of the La Liga season on 20 August.