Athletic Bilbao will look to continue a memorable run in the Copa del Rey when they host Valencia in the first leg of the semifinal on Thursday.
Venue: Estadio San Mamés (Bilbao)
Athletic Bilbao have won their last three home games in all competitions.
They have failed to score only once in their last six games.
Valencia have won six of their last eight away games.
They have scored in each of their last eight away games.
Head to head
In the last 15 meetings between both sides, Athletic Bilbao had five wins while Valencia had five wins.
Latest performances in all competitions
Athletic Bilbao: W-W-W-W-L
After their heroics of the previous round, Athletic Bilbao will aim to take one more step towards the Copa del Rey final when they welcome Valencia to San Mames for the first leg of their semifinal on Thursday night.
The hosts dumped Real Madrid out in the previous round, successfully gaining revenge on the Spanish giants following their Super Cup heartache to Los Blancos.
A full-strength Athletic Bilbao side got the job done over Carlo Ancelotti’s men in the quarter-finals courtesy of an 89th-minute strike by substitute Alex Berenguer.
Before defeating Madrid, Bilbao also put in a big performance, defeating Copa del Rey holders Barcelona 3-2 in extra time.
Having slain two of Spain’s biggest clubs on their way to this stage of the tournament, they will come into this tie full of confidence. Indeed, their performance in this tournament puts them as the favourites to win it. They are currently the second most successful club in the Copa del Rey, having won the trophy 23 times, including twice in the last three years.
The hosts come into this tie on the back of a 2-1 La Liga win over Espanyol thanks to strikes from Oihan Sancet and Inigo Martinez, meaning that Marcelino’s men arrive in the semifinals having won their last four in all competitions.
Possible Bilbao starting line-up
Unai Simon; Oscar de Marcos, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez, Yuri Berchiche; Alex Berenguer, Mikel Vesga, Dani Garcia, Iker Muniain; Oihan Sancet, Inaki Williams.
Injured: Nico Williams, Unai Vencedor
Valencia will look to put up a massive performance against Bilbao as they attempt to pip their rivals to a place in the last round of the Copa del Rey.
The visitors, unlike their hosts, Valencia did not have a smooth passage to this round. Despite playing lowly Cadiz, Valencia were given a scare against in the quarter-finals but ultimately progressed thanks to Goncalo Guedes’s and Hugo Duro’s strikes against their 10-man Cadiz.
Although the Mestalla outfit have enjoyed good results in this year’s Copa del Rey, they continue to falter in the league. On Sunday, they come into this tie on the back of a goalless stalemate with Real Sociedad – their fifth La Liga game without a win amid a downward slump in the division.
That result means that Pepe Bordalas’s side remain in mid-table obscurity in the top flight. As such, they will take their Copa del Rey participation seriously as it offers them a more straightforward route to their Copa del Rey title- a trophy that has eluded them for only three years.
They have won the cup on eight occasions and will be desperate to win another this year.
Possible Valencia starting line-up
Giorgi Mamardashvili; Thierry Correia, Mouctar Diakhaby, Eray Comert, Jose Gaya; Dimitri Foulquier, Carlos Soler, Ilaix Moriba, Bryan Gil; Goncalo Guedes, Hugo Duro.
Injured: Gabriel Paulista
Doubtful: Hugo Guillamon, Jasper Cillessen
Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Valencia