LaLiga action returns to San Mames following the international break with Athletic Club taking on Cádiz CF in Bilbao. After wins against CA Osasuna and Real Betis, plus a draw against RCD Mallorca, the Zurigorri will be looking to extend their three-match unbeaten run.
Athletic Club vs Cádiz CF
San Mames, Bilbao
LaLiga EA Sports 23/24 (Matchday 5)
Sunday September 16, 14:00 CEST
Head coach: Sergio González
Known for being a hard-working, industrious midfielder in his playing days, Sergio's side tend to be built in his image - they are tough, dogged and prepared to put up a fight for a result. The Catalan spent most of his professional career between RCD Espanyol and Deportivo La Coruña before hanging up his boots in 2011.
His first steps into management came at Espanyol where he led the B team before taking over the top job in the summer of 2014. He lasted a little over a year in the role, being relieved of his duties after a tough start to the following campaign.
After that he waited three years until joining Real Valladolid at the back end of the 2017/18 season. Eight wins in 12 matches saw the Pucela promoted back to LaLiga, where Sergio kept them for three seasons before suffering relegation in 2020/21.
He took over at Cádiz in January 2022 with the Andalusians in 19th place and four points from safety. Six wins, seven draws and five losses in 18 matches saw them guarantee survival. Last season they finished 14th.
It was a very busy summer transfer window for the Andalusians as they signed nine players and let another six leave for pastures new.
In: Romingue Kouamé (midfielder, from Troyes AC), Gonzalo Escalante (midfielder, loan deal made permanent, from SS Lazio), Sergi Guardiola (forward, loan deal made permanent, from Real Valladolid), Maxi Gómez (forward, from Trabzonspor), Darwin Marchís (midfielder, loaned from Real Valladolid), Robert Navarro (midfielder, loaned from Real Valladolid), Javi Hernández (defender, loaned from CD Leganés), Lucas Pires (defender, loaned from Santos), Jorge Meré (defender, loaned from Club Ámerica).
Out: Théo Bongonda (to Spartak Moscow), Milutin Osmajic (to Preston North End), Alfonso Espino (to Rayo Vallecano), Choco Lozano (to Getafe CF), Awer Mabil (to Grasshoppers), Juan Flere (to Sanluqueño).
Recent form: WLDW
The Yellow have got off to a solid start so far this season. They kicked off the campaign with a home win over Deportivo Alavés and followed that up with a respectable 2-0 loss against FC Barcelona, a 1-1 draw with UD Almería and a 3-1 win over Villarreal CF.
The first time we encountered Cádiz in LaLiga came in the 1977/78 campaign. On that occasion Los Leones ran out 6-1 winners in Bilbao with Dani Ruiz-Bazan and Estanislao Argote getting doubles in addition to strikes by Andoni Goikoetxea and Carlos Ruiz.
The two sides have faced each other a total of 32 times in LaLiga, with Athletic winning 18, drawing six and losing eight.
As for matches in Bilbao, the Andalusians have only ever gone home with all three points on two occasions. Out of 16 fixtures, the Zurigorri have won 12, drawn two and lost two.
The last five meetings at San Mames stretch all the way back to 1992. Curiously current head coach Ernesto Valverde opened the scoring in a 2-1 victory that day. Los Leones have managed three wins and two losses in that time.
Midfielder Oihan Sancet gave us a masterclass in the corresponding fixture last season as he netted a hat-trick during a 4-1 romp at San Mames. Yeray Álvarez scored the the third of the match just before half-time.
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