Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Athletic Bilbao did not kick off the new La Liga campaign in great manner, but they have been raising their form week by week and, as a result, the Lions are on a four-match winning run ahead of Thursday’s football match against Rapid Wien. The Basques proved their worth in a 3-1 win over Sevilla at the weekend and they are now on a quest to record their first win in the Europa League group stages. Athletic Bilbao suffered a heavy 3-0 loss to Sassuolo in their opener and we predict that the La Liga team will go all guns blazing at Rapid Wien in Thursday’s Europa League match. The Austrians defeated Genk in the opening match of their Europa League campaign, but they often struggle on the travels and we do not believe that they are capable of making life difficult for Athletic Bilbao at San Mames Barria.
Highlighted Player (Aritz Aduriz):
Aritz Aduriz is another Spanish footballer that can be placed in the late bloomers category, having played his best football after the age of 30. The cultured striker has spent his entire career in native Spain, and he was showing promise from the moment he first tasted senior football.
The Basque forward arrived at Athletic Bilbao via Aurrera and Bilbao Athletic, but the first spell at San Mames proved quite disappointing and he went on to kick-start his career at Real Valladolid. Aduriz later returned to Athletic Bilbao to score 22 goals in 82 league outings, and then represented Mallorca and Valencia before returning for the third spell. Little did he know that it would prove to be the most successful stint of his career, with the forward producing some amazing displays in La liga and Europa League, scoring over 95 goals in first four years upon rejoining los Leones.
That proved enough for the striker to end a six-year exile from the national team as Aduriz featured in March 2016 friendlies vs Italy and Romania, scoring on his return against the Azzurri to prove age should not matter when the quality is there.
Highlighted Team (Rapid Vienna):
Rapid Wien are considered the most successful club in the history of Austrian football. In 2008 the capital club won their 32th domestic title and in 1995 they clinched their 15th Austrian Cup trophy. Die Grun-Weissen were founded back in 1898 as Erster Wiener Arbeiter-Fussball-Club and one year later the club was renamed to Sportklub Rapid Wien. In 1904 the club’s colours were changed to green and white and they have been wearing green and white shirts ever since. In 1985 Rapid made it to the Cup Winners Cup final and it has to be noted that they participated in the final competition in 1996 as well. Famous German footballer Lothar Matthaus was in charge of the team between September 2001 and May 2002, but he failed to record a good result with the Weststadion outfit. Weststadion has been the home ground of Rapid Wien since 16 July, 2016 and you should bear in mind that the capacity of the stadium is 28 000. Rapid’s fiercest rivals are Austria Wien.