Atl Madrid v Athletic Bilbao

Atl Madrid

Athletic Bilbao

  • KO 19:45

8 May 2012 Last updated at 16:53 GMT
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Europa League final

  • Venue: National Arena, Bucharest
  • Date: Wednesday 9 May
  • Kick-off: 1945 BST

Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website; live on Channel 5.

Continue reading the main story Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (0)

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Athletic Bilbao go in search of their first European trophy as they take on fellow Spanish side Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's Europa League final.
Madrid have won two European trophies, including the 2010 Europa League, but the closest Bilbao have come is defeat in the final of the Uefa Cup in 1977.
Bilbao have impressed in this season's competition, including eliminating Manchester United in the round of 16.
Routes to the final post groups

A Madrid Round A Bilbao
4-1 (agg) v Lazio Last 32 2-2 (agg - away goals) v Loc Moscow
6-1 (agg) v Besiktas Last 16 5-3 (agg) v Man Utd
4-2 (agg) v Hannover Quarters 6-4 (agg) v Schalke
5-2 (agg) v Valencia Semis 4-3 (agg) v Sporting

However, Madrid will start as slight favourites in Bucharest.
Diego Simone's side not only have the greater European pedigree, they are also unbeaten in seven games to have moved to the verge of a Champions League qualification spot in La Liga.
They will have defender Luis Perea available after recovering from a thigh problem, but midfielder Tiago is suspended.
In contrast, Bilbao should be at full strength after resting a number of key players at the weekend, including star striker Fernando Llorente.
Llorente believes his side's success over Manchester United, which saw them triumph 3-2 at Old Trafford before finishing the job with a 2-1 victory in the San Mames, has given them the belief to win on Wednesday night.
"We have really had a great season in Europe, and that makes us even more determined to win the final," said the Spanish striker, who has scored seven goals in the Europa League this season and 24 in all competitions.

Gaizka Mendieta Former Spain international
"Both teams have experienced big games in the past and it is one of the most balanced finals you could watch. Atletico have a big chance to win it. Their new manager [Diego Simeone] has changed the club inside and out by making them confident. They play so well, so aggressive, and so tactically. For Atletico, [wide men] Adrian and Turan will be so important and, if they get balls into the box, Falcao will score. If Bilbao get crosses into the box through Muniain and Susaeta, Llorente will score. I am really excited, and think it will be a great game. I am an Athletic fan and hope they win their first European title."

Bilbao have the opportunity to claim a double this season, with a Copa del Ray final showdown with Barcelona to come on 24 May.
"One year ago, nobody would even have imagined that we could enjoy such a successful campaign. We now have to rise to the occasion, and end the season on a high," Llorente said.
Llorente is well aware of the threat posed by Madrid, who have been rejuvenated since Simone replaced Gregorio Manzano as manager in December.
"We know Atletico really well. They have changed a lot since the arrival of Simeone," Llorente said.
"I don't know how he has done it, but he has done a great job. They have been very impressive in Europe."
Wednesday's final marks the second time in three years Atletico have appeared in the Europe League final. In 2010 they beat Roy Hodgson's Fulham 2-1 after extra time.
However, while Simone acknowledges that experience could be a factor, he is wary of the threat posed by Bilbao.
"When it comes to matches like this, those who've already played in one know what to expect, but that guarantees you nothing," he said.
"They [Bilbao] are a team with a lot of intensity, a direct style of football, quick and brave - a team that isn't afraid to play their way, even in away matches.
"They've played like that throughout the whole season. And knowing the team and their coach, I know they will be the same in any game, whether it's a friendly or a final."
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Article Source : BBC News

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