Bilbao look to stay on track

BY foxsports • October 19, 2011

A victory would leave the Basque side within touching distance of the next phase of the competition. Athletic took a while to get going under new coach Marcelo Bielsa at the start of the season, picking up just one win from their opening seven matches in Europe and the Primera Division. However, things are now looking a lot brighter for the club following three successive victories, downing big-spending Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 in the Europa League and then defeating local rivals Real Sociedad and Osasuna in La Liga. Those wins have helped Athletic climb up to 11th in their domestic league and also left them setting pretty at the top of Group F in Europe with six points - three more than PSG and Salzburg. Rising star Iker Muniain, who scored the opener in Monday's 3-1 win over Osasuna, said in AS: "We started the league badly, it seemed that everything was gloomy, but we've put together these wins and climbed the table. "At first we struggled to find our rhythm, the method that the new coach wanted. It seems that we've found it now and things are getting better all the time." Having already turned over PSG at San Mames this season, Athletic will be expected to add the scalp of a Salzburg side who were beaten 3-1 by the French outfit in week one and who have taken just one point from their last three Bundesliga matches. However, the 18-year-old Muniain is taking nothing for granted, saying: "On paper we could seem better, but I don't see it like that. In the Europa League you can't underestimate anybody." Salzburg bounced back from their loss to PSG with a 3-0 win over Slovan Bratislava in their last Group F outing, leaving Ricardo Moniz's side third in the standings just behind the Ligue 1 team. Moniz has named a 19-man squad for the trip to Spain with Alan, Christoph Leitgeb, Douglas and Mendes still unavailable. However, Jakob Jantscher and Stefan Hierlander are both in the travelling party despite having been late withdrawals from Saturday's draw against Wacker Innsbruck.

share story