Schalke Vs. Athletic Bilbao, 2012 UEFA Europa League: Final Score, Bielsa's Boys Net Four

Schalke had plenty of possession, lots of shots on target and plenty of goals on Thursday, but their defense and goalkeeping was absolutely abysmal. Even though the legendary Raúl was able to find the net twice, a Schalke team down to their third and fourth goalkeepers completely unraveled late as Athletic Bilbao posted an impressive 4-2 victory in Gelsenkirchen.

Fernando Llorente struck first, taking advantage of some horrendous goalkeeping by Timo Hildebrand. In the 20th minute, Óscar de Marcos put a shot on target that was right to Hildebrand, but he couldn't hold on. The ball fell to Llorente, whose shot was saved by Hildebrand who, again, couldn't hold on or push the ball clear. The third try was the charm for Athletic and Llorente, who scored to give his team a 1-0 lead.

Raúl answered instantly, touching in a low near-post cross by Jefferson Farfán to equalize. He would put his team ahead in the second half with an absolutely stunning strike, hitting a volley from 25 yards out to give Schalke a 2-1 lead. They would control the game from that point until the Athletic equalizer, at which point things fell apart.

At halftime, Hildebrand came out for Mathias Schober, Schalke's fourth-string keeper. He didn't do any better than the man he replaced. Llorente completed a brace in the 73rd minute with a brilliant header on a corner kick, though that goal was not Schober's fault. On the next two, he definitely could have done better.

Bilbao's third was all on Schober. On a weak, narrow-angle shot by Markel Susaeta, Schober somehow parried the ball right into the path of de Marcos, who finished to make it 3-2. They would add another on the counter in stoppage time, with Iker Muniain scoring on a great 12-yard strike into the roof of the net, partially set up by a Schober mishandle seconds earlier.

This is the only one of the four ties that is effectively over before the second leg. Marcelo Bielsa might not even play a first team at the San Mamés.

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