Preview Torino Vs Athletic Bilbao : the Italian Torino FC will take on Athletic Club de Bilbao in the first leg of the round of 32 at Stadio Olimpico in Turin on the 19th of February. The Thursday game will kick off at 19:00 CET. The hosts are the favourites with an impressive run of five home games without defeat in the European tournament. The Spanish side enter Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League.
FC Torino have already impressed claiming the second place in the Group B behind Club Brugge KV. The Italians are unbeaten in nine of their European home games – winning 7 and drawing 2 of them. In the group stage of the Europa League, Torino lost only once when travelling to Finland to meet with HJK Helsinki. Apart from that one less fortunate case, Torino won three and drew 2 games with the impressive overall goal balance of 9:3. In the Italian Serie A competition Torino are now the 9th side of the table with 32 points on their account. This gives them a safe 12-point advantage over the releagation zone. Torino may still think about the race for the Europa League spots – to the 5th side of the table, Lazio, they are losing just five points currently. With the away victory over AC Cesena on the 18th of January, Torino started a great run of four consecutive league wins. This was ended by last round’s home draw with Cagliari. The game ended 1:1, which leaves them unbeaten for 10 Serie A matches. They lost their last Serie A game in November against Juventus and only lost a cup match against Lazio during that run.
Athletic Bilbao had to acknowledge superiority of Porto and Shakhtar in the Champions League Group H. The Spaniards ended the group stage third with two wins, one draw and three defeats. They did not have an impressive goal balance since they conceded more than they scored themselves (5:6). Worth noticing is the fact that Athletic won both of their final games in the Champions League securing themselves the Europa League spot. Yet, they are not without chances against Torino. In Spain, Bilbao are the 13th side of the La Liga table. With 24 points on their account they must still look behind them – Granada, who are the best from the drop zone, have only five points less. So it seems quite sure that Bilbao will not appear in the European tournament next season as this year Athletics Primera Division perfomance is much poorer than last season. Their recent form are two draws. On Saturday Bilbao drew on the road with relegation candidate Granada and neither the hosts nor Bilbao managed to get a goal on that day. Previously Bilbao drew 1:1 at home with Espanyol Barcelona in their first leg in the Copa del Rey.
Worth knowing about Torino - Athletic Bilbao
- It will be their first direct match in the European competition.
- Athletic have not won in Turin yet (they lost two and drew one game with Juventus).
- Torino played in the final stage of UEFA tournament in 1994 when they lost to Arsenal.