Real Betis vs Athletic Club
Real Betis will attempt to put their La Liga woes behind them when they host Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of Copa del Rey Last 16 stage. Meanwhile, los Leones are determined to continue their Cup campaign and make amends for the weekend loss to arch rivals Real Sociedad. This season is a far cry from last term when Real Betis were vying for European positions, but there is still enough time to ensure the club keep their league status. Los Verdiblancos sit at rock bottom in La Liga following a disappointing start to the season and they are already five points adrift of safety. Having picked up just 3 points from last 11 league fixtures, Real Betis find themselves in all sorts of problems and they can be forgiven for not giving their best in the Copa del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao. Selection problems continue to mount for boss Juan Garrido with Paulao and Javier Matilla doubtful with a bout of flu, but the good news is Alvaro Vadillo returns from a hamstring problem. Bryan Rodriguez and Nosa Igiebor could also return, but Xavi Torres and Damien Perquis remain on the sidelines. Unlike their next opponents, Athletic are enjoying an excellent season, with los Leones currently occupying fourth place in the La Liga standings. Ernesto Valverde’s side did suffer a minor blow to their top 4 hopes having lost to arch rivals Real Sociedad at the weekend, but they now have a good opportunity to quickly return to winning ways. Having won the Copa del Rey on no less than 23 occasions, Athletic always take the competition very seriously and they made it all the way to the final in 2012. With no fresh injuries to report and only Unai Albizua out on the sidelines, Ernesto Valverde is unlikely to make major changes to his starting line-up. Good luck to you!