The lowdown on Athletic Club

The lowdown on Athletic Club

Next up it’s the team from the Basque Country that traditionally prove to be a tough opponent at San Mamés. Here are all the details...

On Wednesday, Barça are back in action in LaLiga with a trip to San Mamés to take on Athletic Club, kick-off 9.00pm CET. Here is our lowdown on Los Leones.

Where are they from?

The city of Bilbao is in the Basque Country in northern Spain and is the largest city in the Basque Country as a whole, with a population of almost 350,000 people.

Club history

Bilbao Football Club was formed in the late 19th century by British workers and Basque students returning home from the UK, whilst the monied classes founded Athletic Club at the same time. The two clubs joined together in 1902 and were known as Club Bizcaya, winning the first ever Copa del Rey. An official merger occurred in 1903 when the name Athletic Club was finally settled on.

Known as Los Leones (The Lions), they play their home games at the Estadio San Mamés.  Club colours are red and white-striped shirts with black shorts and black socks. Former Barça coach Ernesto Valverde was also in charge of the Basques on two separate occasions between 2003-2005 and 2013-2017.

Did you know?

  • Of all the Basque football teams, Athletic remain the most successful, both in league titles and cups won.
  • They are still to play the 2020 Copa del Rey final against local rivals, Real Sociedad, due to be played in 2021 because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Athletic have won the Copa del Rey on 23 previous occasions, second only to Barça’s 30 titles.
  • Along with Barça and Real Madrid, Athletic have never been relegated from LaLiga since its inception in 1929. They remain the only three clubs to hold this particular honour.


Of the last 40 matches in all competitions stretching back to September 2007, Barça have tasted defeat on just five occasions, the last one coming in February 2020. There have been nine draws and 26 Barça wins, with Athletic winning the last two fixtures against Barça at San Mamés. In the last five games (home and away), neither side has scored more than one goal and the last Barça win in Bilbao came in October 2017.

Form guide

Athletic currently sit in ninth place, having won six, drawn three and lost eight of their 17 league games. They have a zero goal difference having scored and conceded 19 goals, and have accrued 21 points so far. Of their last six matches, they have won 2 (Huesca, Elche), drawn 2 (Valencia, Villarreal) and lost 2 (Real Madrid, Real Sociedad).

The squad

Most capped internationals: Iñigo Martínez (Spain, 12), Kenan Kodro (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 9), Unai Simón (Spain, 3)

Top scorer 2020/21 (all competitions): Iñaki Williams (3), Iker Muniain (3)

The boss

As a Sporting Gijón player Marcelino faced Barça on seven occasions, ending up on the winning side just twice, drawing twice and losing on three occasions. 

During his coaching career the Asturian born manager has come up against Barça on 21 occasions at six different clubs, Recreativo, Racing Santander, Zaragoza, Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia. After 14 defeats and six draws against the blaugranes, Marcelino finally broke his duck in his most recent encounter against Barça, winning the final of the 2019 Copa del Rey against Ernesto Valverde's team.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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