Athletic Bilbao Vs. Valencia, 2012 La Liga Week 27: Los Che Need To Lock Down Third

Fernando Llorente of Bilbao celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 during the UEFA Europa League match between Manchester United and Athletic Bilbao at San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Athletic Bilbao looks to grab the lead in the chase for fourth place, while simultaneously putting Valencia's third place standing into doubt.

The race for fourth place in La Liga is absolutely insane. If Valencia isn't careful, it could become an insane race for third and fourth places. Los Che have only won once in their last four games, bringing their previously locked down third position into play. If Athletic Bilbao can defeat them at San Mames on Sunday, they will pull to within just four points of that third position.

Both Athletic and Valencia are coming off of big Europa League victories, and they appear to be the two biggest favorites to win that competition. They haven't always looked good in the league games after European matches, however, so neither is likely to be at their best at La Catedral.

Fernando Llorente is a doubt, and fellow striker Gaizka Toquero is suspended for Bilbao. Central defender Fernando Amorebieta is also suspended. Athletic has an otherwise clean bill of health and a full roster to pick from. Valencia have bigger problems, as their two top playmakers Ever Banega and Sergio Canales are still out with long-term injuries. Right back Miguel is also out, and defensive midfielder/central defender Hedwiges Maduro could make the bench after recovering from an injury.

Game Date/Time: Sunday, March 17, 3:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. local

Venue: San Mames, Bilbao, Spain

TV: GolTV (USA and Canada)

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.