Zorya Lugansk vs. Athletic Bilbao / Europa League – This match solves the last dilemma in the group in which Swedish Ostersund has surprisingly secured the placement in the sixteen finals, while Hertha was surprisingly eliminated from all the combinations. These two rivals remain in the fight and Athletic is currently the second with two points more on the account, which means that Zorya has to win if they want to finish second and all other results match the guests. Zorya is not in good shape, neither in Ukraine's championship, but Athletic is no better in the Spanish La Liga. The first due lof these rivals in Bilbao has surprisingly belonged to the Ukrainians with 1-0. Begins: 07.12.2017. – 21:05 CET
Zorya at the end of the competition at the group stage of Europa League still has a situation where they win the knockout stage and most importantly, decide themselves about their destiny. It is also good that they are playing a decisive match on their field, but it is bad for Athletic, who comes from one of the strongest Europa League and Zorya has an imperative of victory.
They managed to defeat this rival away and after three rounds with six points, they were close to placement in the sixteen finals, but they lost the previous two games with 2-0 at home against Hertha and Ostersund, so they have this situation before this last round. They were not defeated in the Ukrainian championship for almost three months, however, they play a lot of draws and are therefore only sixth on the table. Center-back Pylyavski and Pryjma are still out of action due to injury, and midfielder Kalitvintsev.
Probable lineups Zorya Lugansk: Lunin – Opanasenko, Svatok, Checher, Sukhotsky – Gordiyenko, Kharatin – Kharavaev, Andrievsky, Gromov – Iury
Athletic has a bad season and it can be said that in the European league it is even the best, although in this competition they did not secure the sixteen finals. They have a good opportunity, because they have two points advantage and they need a draw in Ukraine. The way they are playing, no one can say that they are a big favourite, although they played a good draw with Real Madrid in the previous round. That is why they were sensationally eliminated from the Cup because of a home defeat by Formentera.
So, the Cup is over, and they do not want to repeat it all over again in Europa League, especially because they are doing badly in the championship and are much closer to relegation zone, than to the positions that can take them back to European scene. Athletic was in a very bad situation in Europa League, but they celebrated two times at home that brought them back to life, and particularly dramatic was the match against Hertha in the last round when they were losing twice and finally won. Laporte was not in the team against Real due to suspension, but he is now returning, unlike the injured Iturraspe who is still out of action.
Probable lineups Athletic Bilbao: Herrerin – Boveda, Laporte, Etxeita, Balenziaga – San Jose, M.Rico – Williams, Raul Garcia, Cordoba – Aduriz
Zorya Lugansk vs. Athletic Bilbao PICK
The stakes are high and the host is under the imperative of victory, but the question is whether they have the strength to overcome the favoured opponent for the second time. Athletic could be set tactically in this match and they will not rush in the attack because a draw is good and therefore we do not expect a lot of goals.
Pick: under 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.75 at bet365 (down to 1.65 can be played)