Panathinaikos – Athletic Bilbao: Preview & Prediction
The Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium in Athens will host the first match between Panathinaikos of Greece and Athletic Bilbao of Spain on Thursday 17 August, with a place in the group stage of the Europa League 2017/2018 . The kickoff is scheduled for 15:30 (Brasilia time).
The recent performance of Panathinaikos
Having failed to win a national title since the 2009/2010 season and having seen rival Olympiakos lift their cup in the seven most recent Greek League matches, Panathinaikos has earned the right to participate in the Europa League qualifiers by completing the Greek Super League version 2016 / 2017 in third place. He added 57 points (16 wins, nine draws and five losses).
That forced him to go through a knockout stage before reaching the playoffs of the Europa League. He also made his home debut against Gabala in Azerbaijan. He won 1-0. Far from his dominance, he secured a 2-1 victory.
They were the only two official matches in the current season, as their debut in the Greek Championship is set for August 20, away from home against Platanias, right in the middle of the commitments with Athletic Bilbao.
The preparation for the decisive duels against the Spaniards counted on five friendly ones. It was three wins, one draw and one defeat, just in the latest. On August 10, he lost 2-0 to Smyris.
The current form of Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao is in a similar situation. With debut also marked for the 20 day by the Spanish Championship, when it will receive the Getafe, its only official games of the season were by Liga Europa. It drew with Dynamo Bucharest, of Romania, by 1 to 1, like visitor and made use of its command of field when thrashing by 3 to 0 in the second match.
The home factor was decisive for the Bilbao team to reach seventh place in the Spanish League last year. Of the 63 points won (19 wins, six draws and 13 losses), 43 (13 wins, four draws and two losses) were won in their dominions.
The team intensified its calendar of friendlies aiming to give to the technician Jose Ziganda the possibility to know better the cast. He was chosen to replace Ernesto Valverde, responsible for the good campaign in the previous season and now in charge of Barcelona. There were eight games. He won three times, drew two and lost three.
For the match on Thursday, Ziganda will not be able to count on defender Yerai Alvarez and midfielder Ander Iturraspe. They are under the care of the medical department in treatment of injuries.
Panathinaikos – Athletic Bilbao: Betting Tips
Both teams to score / YES – Odds: 2.10
Over 2,5 goals – Odds: 2.35