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Athletic Bilbao v Schalke: Llorente can power hosts into semis

| 05.04.2012

Athletic Bilbao head into the second leg of their quarter-final clash with Schalke as 10/11 favourites after a dominant display in Germany.

After disposing of Manchester United in the previous round, the Basque side overcame Schalke in the Arena AufSchalke with a 4-2 victory and are unbeaten at home in this season’s competition.

Fernando Llorente was the driving force behind the win in Gelsenkirchen as he notched two goals to lead his side to victory. The Spanish international is the favourite to open the scoring here at 4/1 and with 14 goals already this term that looks good value.

Schalke must have a go at the Bilbao backline after conceding four away goals in the first leg. The Germans are priced at 11/4 to claim an unexpected victory in Bilbao, after only two wins from their seven away games in Europe this season.

Schalke disposed of Maccabi Haifa with a 3-0 scoreline in the group stages and something similar is needed if they are to progress here.

Athletic have only lost by that margin on one occasion in European competition and that was back in 2009 to Werder Bremen. A repeat of that result looks unlikely against a free-scoring Athletic, but it can be backed at 40/1.

The Germans possess firepower of their own with the Europa League’s top-scorer in their ranks. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has hit the net nine times in Europe this season and the Dutchman is 6/1 to be the first to do so in Spain.

The only result that can see the tie go to extra-time is a repeat of a 4-2 away victory and punters believing a repeat of that result will occur should be encouraged by the 66/1 price on the tie going beyond the 90 minutes.

With the visitors needing to come out and attack to stand any chance of progression it is set to be another exciting game, and with Huntelaar and Llorente bagging 15 goals between them in Europe this term, an evening showcasing four or more strikes can be backed at 11/8.



Aaron Cox

Aaron has written for a number of top-level publications, including FourFourTwo and the Manchester Evening News. As well as being a fanatical Rochdale AFC fan and blogger, he shares a passion for rugby league and golf.