Athletic Club vs Barcelona: Preview and Prediction

Barcelona will look to extend their five-match unbeaten run in the league when they square up against Athletic Club away from home.

Athletic Club have made it to the final of the Copa del Rey on the back of an exceptional performance against Atletico Madrid and will look to build on it when they host third-placed Barcelona.

The defending champions have not been at their best this season. But they still have a chance of winning the league and can’t afford to drop any more points. The home team are fifth in the league with 49 points in their 26 matches. They are just three points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, and a win here will help strengthen their case for a top-four finish.

Athletic Club might have lost in their last league game, but they are heading into this one on the back of a 3-0 win over Diego Simeone’s team in the Copa del Rey and will be confident about their chances against the Catalan giants.

Barcelona are third in the league with 57 points out of their 26 matches, and they are eight points behind the league leaders Real Madrid. They need to ensure that they do not drop any more points to maintain the pressure on Madrid.

They are heading into this on the back of a 4-0 win over Getafe. It was a clinical performance on both ends of the pitch and they will hope for more of the same. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could deploy.

Team News & Tactics

Athletic Club

The home team will be without the services of Yuri Berchiche and Ander Herrera. Meanwhile, Nico Williams is suspended because of the red card that he picked up against Real Betis last time out, while Dani Vivian is also suspended following a milestone yellow. They do have a boost as Alex Berenguer is expected to be fit in time for this fixture.

Athletic Club will go ahead with the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Unai Simon will be in goal. Oscar de Marcos and Inigo Lekue will be the two full-backs. They will look to support the central defensive duo of Aitor Paredes and Yeray Alvarez.

In the centre of the park, Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta will feature alongside Benat Prados Diaz. They will look to control the tempo of the game. Inaki Williams and Alex Berenguer will provide width to their attacks. The duo will start on the flanks and will look to link up with Oihan Sancet, who will feature as the attacking midfielder in behind striker Gorka Guruzeta.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Simon; De Marcos, Yeray, Paredes, Lekue; Ruiz de Galarreta, Prados; Inaki Williams, Sancet, Berenguer; Guruzeta

Athletic Club vs Barcelona Predicted XI


Barcelona will be without the services of Alejandro Balde, Gavi, and Marcos Alonso. Meanwhile, Ferran Torres is in the final stage of his recovery and could feature in the squad for this fixture. Xavi will stick with the 4-3-3 formation, but he is expected to make a few changes to the XI that started last time out.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start in goal for the Catalan giants, while Jules Kounde and Joao Cancelo should continue as the full-backs. Ronald Araujo will have the support of Inigo Martinez, who seems ready to square up against his former club.

Andreas Christensen has been used as defensive midfielder of late, and that should continue here as well. He will have the support of Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan in the centre of the park. Raphinha and Pedri will feature on the flanks. They will provide width to their attacks and create chances for their start striker Robert Lewandowski who will be leading the line.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Inigo Martinez, Cancelo; Frenkie de Jong, Christensen, Gundogan; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Pedri

Athletic Club vs Barcelona Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Athletic Club have only won one out of their last three league games.
  • Barcelona have been unbeaten in their last five league games.
  • The home team haven’t finished inside the top four in the last 10 years but could do it this time around.
  • The Catalan giants have won each of their last four league games against Athletic Club.
  • Athletic Club have the third-best record at home this season, they have picked up 32 points from their 13 home games in the league.

Player to Watch

Robert Lewandowski

Embed from Getty Images

Lewandowski might not have been at his best this season, but he still has 12 goals and five assists in his 24 league outings. He has started to get going of late with four goals in his last four league games, and Xavi will expect the Polish international delivers for him yet again. While they did not find the back of the net against Getafe last time out, given his recent form one will not bet against him scoring in this fixture.


Athletic Club 1-3 Barcelona

Athletic Club are heading into this fixture on the back of an excellent win over Atletico Madrid, and they will be confident of their chances. But Barcelona have also hit top gear in the recent past. They are heading into this one on the back of a 4-0 win over Getafe. Things have started to click for their star forwards. As a result, The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for the Blaugrana.

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