Can Athletic Bilbao Stave Off The Upset on Thursday?

Published on August 26th, 2015 8:33 pm EST
In the first leg of their Europa League playoff match, Athletic Bilbao blew a two goal lead to suffer a stunning defeat at the hands of Zilina. Athletic Bilbao was seemingly cruising to an easy victory in the away match but ended up losing 3-2.

Athletic Bilbao will look to right the ship when they play host to Zilina on Friday. The stakes are quite high - the winner will move on to the Europa League group stage, while the losers will go home.

Athletic Bilbao, while they lost the first leg in surprising fashion, is still the odds-on favourite to advance. Here are the odds to qualify for the Group Stage of Europa League:

Athletic Bilbao, 1.22
Zilina, 4.00

Athletic Bilbao was able to take one positive out of their first match against Zilina, in that they were able to score two road goals. It is hard to imagine Zilina being able to score two goals in Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

Here are the odds for Thursday's game:

Athletic Bilbao, 1.22
Draw. 6.00
Zilina, 13.00

As you can see, the oddsmakers aren't giving Zilina much of a chance of pulling off the shock upset on Thursday. It stands to reason that Zilina will be content to play a stifling defensive game on Thursday, but how long will they be able to hold back the offense of Athletic Bilbao?


Athletic Bilbao is clearly the better side, as they have more talent and play in a vastly superior league. It will be interesting, however, to see if Athletic Bilbao can shake off the results of the first game on Thursday.

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