Alaves suffered a 3-1 loss at Villarreal on Wednesday night, while Athletic will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a surprise 1-0 home defeat by newly-promoted Cadiz.
A return of just one point from four matches has left Alaves bottom of La Liga at this stage, which is an indication of the importance of this game just before the international break.
Pablo Machin's side started their season with back-to-back defeats to Real Betis and Granada, before picking up a welcome point at home to Getafe on September 26.
Alaves could not build on the draw, though, and suffered a 3-1 defeat at Villarreal on Wednesday, meaning that they are currently propping up the division.
The Basque outfit are operating in their fifth straight season at this level of football, and they actually finished ninth in 2016-17 before claiming 11th in 2018-19.
Los Babazorros were 16th in Spain's top flight last season, though, and it does appear that it could be a tough campaign for a club who have signed the likes of Deyverson and Florian Lejeune on loan this summer.
Athletic, meanwhile, have only picked up three points from their first three league matches of the season, beating Eibar on September 27 but losing to both Granada and Cadiz.
Thursday's 1-0 home defeat to Cadiz would have come as a huge surprise and puts pressure on the Basque outfit to bounce back in their final match ahead of the international break.
Gaizka Garitano's side actually lost four of their last five league games at the end of last season to finish down in 11th spot, and it is difficult to imagine them pushing for a European finish this term.
Indeed, restricted to signing Basque-only players, it has been a very quiet transfer window the club, who are still waiting for Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain to get off the mark in terms of goals this term.
Alaves La Liga form: WWDW
Athletic Bilbao La Liga form: LWL
Alaves will again be without the services of Tomas Pina due to a foot injury, but the home side are otherwise in good shape when it comes to absentees for this weekend's contest.
Alaves possible starting lineup:
Pacheco; Navarro, Laguardia, Lejeune, Duarte; Mendez, Battaglia, Pons, Sainz; Perez, Joselu
Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Capa, Nunez, Martinez, Yuri; D Garcia, Lopez; Villalibre, R Garcia, Muniain; Williams
We say: Alaves 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
There is no playing down the importance of this match to both teams, and a defeat would be really damaging just before the international break. Alaves are certainly capable of causing Athletic problems, but we just fancy the visitors to pick up all three points courtesy of a narrow win.