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Atletico Madrid prepares for the challenge posed by Athletic Bilbao in the race for the Champions League

Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao are gearing up for a pivotal showdown in their bid for Champions League qualification.

Despite Atletico currently enjoying a three-point lead over Athletic, Diego Simeone’s side is determined to maintain their advantage. However, recent setbacks, including a disappointing Champions League exit and a humbling defeat against Alaves, have intensified the pressure ahead of Athletic’s visit to the Metropolitano Stadium.

Under the guidance of Ernesto Valverde, Athletic Bilbao is eager to secure a return to Europe’s elite competition for the first time since 2014.

Having dominated their encounters with Atletico this season, including a convincing 2-0 victory in La Liga and a successful run in the Copa del Rey, Athletic approaches the match with confidence.

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak acknowledges the challenges facing his team, citing a “terrible dynamic” and stressing the need for improvement. Nonetheless, Atletico remains resolute in their determination to bounce back and secure a crucial win against Athletic.

Meanwhile, Athletic’s recent draw against Granada, coupled with Atletico’s defeat, has left the race for Champions League qualification wide open.

Valverde understands the importance of refocusing his team for the final stretch of the season, particularly with key players like Raul Garcia and Iker Muniain set to depart.

As anticipation builds for this crucial clash, all eyes will be on Artem Dovbyk, the prolific striker from Girona, as he aims to further enhance his impressive goal tally and propel his team towards Champions League football next season.

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