Athletic Bilbao are best-placed of the three Spanish clubs aiming to reach the Europa League semi-finals tonight and still the ones that seem to be pressing hardest for victory.
While Atletico Madrid will defend a narrow 2-1 lead at Hannover and Valencia need to overturn a 2-1 deficit when they host AZ Alkmaar, Bilbao have targeted another win over visiting Schalke despite already holding a 4-2 advantage from last week’s quarter-final first-leg matches.
Bilbao, who eliminated Manchester United in the previous round, have won plaudits across Europe for their attacking play and don’t look likely to change their game plan.
“We can’t go out and play stupidly,” winger Markel Susaeta said. “Even though we won 4-2, nothing but winning this game has crossed our minds.”
Susaeta said Bilbao would be on guard against the attacking threat of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan and former Spain great Raul Gonzalez, who scored both Schalke’s goals last week.
Metalist Kharkiv host Sporting Lisbon in the other match, with the Ukrainian side seeking to overturn a 2-1 deficit. Scottish referee Willie Collum takes charge of the match and will be joined by assistant referees Derek Rose and Alasdair Ross and additional assistant referees Euan Norris and Steven McLean.