Oct 18, 2020 at 1pm UK
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
Berenguer (68'), Williams (79')
Alvarez (42'), Capa (44'), Lopez (64')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Vezo (33')

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Levante - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Levante - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:418556: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Levante, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two teams currently inside the relegation zone in Spain's top flight will lock horns at San Mames on Sunday afternoon as Athletic Bilbao prepare to welcome Levante.

Athletic have only picked up three points from their opening four league matches of the season to sit 19th, while Levante are 18th with the exact same record as their opponents this weekend.

Match preview

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tough start to the campaign for Athletic, with a return of three points from four matches leaving them in 19th position in the division.

Only Real Valladolid have a worse record than the Basque club this season, and the hosts will enter this game off the back of successive 1-0 defeats to Cadiz and Alaves.

Athletic recorded a 2-1 victory at Eibar towards the end of September but have also lost to Granada this term, and there is pressure on head coach Gaizka Garitano to deliver a positive result this weekend.

The eight-time La Liga champions finished 11th in Spain's top flight last season, and it would be fair to say that they are some way from the top-four side that they were in 2013-14.

Indeed, restricted to signing Basque-only players, it was a quiet transfer window for the club, meaning that there is again huge pressure on the likes of Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain to deliver on a consistent basis.

Levante, though, have also struggled for results in the early stages of the 2020-21 campaign, picking up just three points from their opening four fixtures to sit inside the relegation zone.

Paco Lopez's side started their season with a 4-2 loss at Valencia before putting three points on the board courtesy of a 3-1 success at Osasuna.

Levante have lost their last two in the league, though, suffering a 1-0 defeat at Sevilla on October 1 before losing 2-0 at home to the champions Real Madrid just before the international break.

The Frogs finished 12th in La Liga last season, which was their highest placing since 2013-14, but it could be difficult for the club to claim a similar spot this term.

Levante have actually lost each of their last three La Liga matches with Athletic, meanwhile, including a 2-1 defeat in the corresponding game during the 2019-20 campaign.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form: LWLL

Levante La Liga form: LWLL

Team News

Athletic will be without the services of defender Yuri Berchiche due to coronavirus, while Kenan Kodro will also miss out for the home side on Sunday afternoon.

Ibai Gomez and Oscar De Marcos will both face late fitness tests, meanwhile, but Yeray Alvarez is fit after an adductor injury and should start alongside Inigo Martinez at the heart of the defence.

Alex Berenguer is expected to earn a spot in a wide area, while Mikel Balenziaga and Muniain should both come into the starting XI from the side that featured against Alaves on October 4.

As for Levante, Cheick Doukoure is unavailable through injury, but Ruben Rochina is available and could be handed a starting spot ahead of Enis Bardhi in a wide area.

Lopez is expected to select the same defence that started against Madrid before the international break, but Nemanja Radoja could return in midfield, while Gonzalo Melero is also pushing for a start.

There are unlikely to be any changes in attack, though, with Roger Marti again likely to partner Jose Luis Morales, who has scored three times in four league outings this term during an excellent start.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Capa, Alvarez, Martinez, Balenziaga; D Garcia, Lopez; R Garcia, Muniain, Berenguer; Williams

Levante possible starting lineup:
Fernandez; Miramon, Vezo, Postigo, Clerc; Campana, Melero, Radoja, Rochina; Morales, Marti

We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Levante

Both sides have struggled for results and indeed performances in the early stages of the campaign, and there is no downplaying the importance of this weekend's contest; we are expecting a close game at San Mames but believe that Athletic will just have enough to pick up all three points.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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