Dinamo Bucharest take on Athletic Bilbao in a good clash at the Europa League Qualifying stage. Both will feel unlucky to have found such a difficult opponent at this stage, especially Bucharest, who are big underdogs to qualify from the tie, despite being one of the more recognisable teams left in at this stage.
However, having said that, Bucharest will probably fancy their chances of causing an upset, especially in the first leg which they play on home soil. Bilbao will not be looking forward to the trip and it will provide a tough test for them, even more so because they don’t have any competitive football under their belt just yet. Bucharest are two games into their league season, so they should come here with match fitness and a sharpness about them that Bilbao will yet to have. This could be the leveller in the first leg of this tie.
Dinamo Bucharest Form
Despite being pretty well known, this is the first time Dinamo Bucharest have played in Europe since 2012/13, so they will surely be up for the challenge when Bilbao arrive. They have played two games already in the league so far, winning one and drawing one in what has been an up and down start. However, they did finish last season strongly, they have lost two of their last 15 games in the league and certainly know how to avoid defeat.
Bucharest will be hoping they can take advantage of their schedule by having the upper hand when it comes to match fitness and sharpness. With the start of the Spanish league a few weeks away, Bilbao are nowhere near as well prepared for this game as the Romanian side are, and they have to make that count in the first leg if they are to have any chance of qualifying.
Athletic Bilbao Form
The bookmakers have Bilbao as clear favourites to win this game, and also to qualify. That makes sense when you see their form both domestically in Spain, and in their past European exploits. They are regulars in this competition, an impressive feat in its own right, although they have badly struggled away from home. Last year they scored just one goal in four away games and with a tough trip ahead of them here to the Romanian capital, I doubt they are looking forward to it.
Athletic Bilbao have the quality and past form to win this game for sure, but their lack of match fitness and sharpness, and their away record is a real leveller in this one.
Trying to work out who will play in this game is really tricky. This is the first competitive game of the season for Bilbao, who are still firmly in their pre-season mode, so it is really difficult to work out who they will play, or how they will play.
Dinamo Bucharest may be more settled, although a poor defeat at the weekend may have changed plans for this one. It will be interesting to see how they line-up as well, as the first leg of this tie is so important.
I wouldn’t be surprised here to see Bilbao take a more defensive approach than normal, hoping to take home a draw or a small lead because they will feel a lot more comfortable at home in the second leg. However, I also think Bucharest will do the opposite, and really attack Bilbao, hoping to take advantage of the situation the Spanish club find themselves in.
Top Betting Tips
This game is going to be a lot closer than the bookmakers think it will be. The game is priced up on the talent in the two teams, and doesn’t really take into account the situation that the game is played in. I agree that Bilbao are a better team than Bucharest, but the fact they are still in early pre-season and their away record in this competition make the teams very even in my opinion. It is a huge occasion for Dinamo Bucharest and I think they are capable of pulling off a huge shock in this game and beating Athletic Bilbao.
Dinamo Bucharest to win the game on Thursday is priced up at a very generous 13/2, which is too good to miss out on. The odds are available from Ladbrokes and for a small interest I think they are a great price in a game that is a lot more even than the bookmakers are suggesting.