Athletic Club played their final friendly of the preseason on Sunday against Augsburg. After facing off with Hannover just 24 hours earlier, Eduardo Berizzo opted for an almost completely different lineup. Alex Remiro and Unai Nuñez were the only two players that stayed in the starting eleven. Like the match against Hannover the Lions dominated possession, but this time they looked better defensively.
Beñat played as the attacking midfielder with Mikel San José and Ander Iturraspe in a double pivot behind him. The trio did well to dominate the center of the pitch while the wings and fullbacks were able to create chances. Mikel Balenziaga was very active in the first half, getting off two shots, while Christian Ganea and Iñigo Córdoba also created moments of danger.
Alex Remiro was called on to make a few saves in the first half and looked comfortable and confident. The 23-year-old knows that he will be the starting goalkeeper when the season begins and is looking to build his rhythm. Athletic’s defense was also able to transition better when losing the ball after struggling in the friendly against Hannover. The Lions made it very difficult for Augsburg to find chances which made things easier for the keeper.
To start the second half Berizzo made four changes by bringing on Oscar De Marcos, Mikel Rico, Iñigo Lekue and Unai López for Beñat, Yeray, Ander Capa, and Iñigo Córdoba. The Basques immediately looked more dangerous with López on the pitch and Augsburg were forced to defend for long stretches in their own half. The hosts then had a ten minute stretch where they were able to string together great passes and forced Remiro to make two very good saves to keep the clean sheet alive.
Athletic became even more dangerous at the hour mark when Gorka Guruzeta came on for Christian Ganea at the left wing position. His direct attacking caused problems for the defenders and he forced the keeper to make two stops. The Lions were knocking on the door and it wouldn’t take much longer for them to finally find the back of the net when Unai López scored off of a corner kick.
Augsburg struggled in their attempts to find an equalizer, but Athletic were not content with the lead. Unai López had two more strong shots and Iñigo Lekue nearly set up Guruzeta in front of goal. In the end the Lions would be unable to double their score, but the lone goal was enough to earn a victory. With most of the expected starters on the bench, Athletic Club defeated Augsburg in their final friendly of the preseason. Now all eyes will be on the first match of the La Liga campaign which will take place on 20 August against Leganés at the San Mamés.