There are only two games remaining in the La Liga season and Athletic Club will be looking to pick up three points in both of them. Following a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Alaves on Sunday afternoon, the Lions find themselves tied for sixth in the table, but do hold the tiebreaker against Real Sociedad. Luckily for Athletic, they are guaranteed at least a top seven finish at this point.
The Basque giants have an eight point lead over 8th place Eibar with only six point left to play for. Athletic began the season with hopes of a top six finish, but their current spot in the table may be good enough to achieve their goal of qualifying for the Europa League once again.
In La Liga, clubs that finish 5th and 6th receive automatic places in the Europa League, with a 3rd spot going to the winner of the Copa del Rey. If the winner has already qualified for Europe, then that place is then given to the 7th place club in the table. At the end of the season Barcelona and Alaves will be playing in the Copa del Rey final and, as long as Barcelona wins, Athletic will be placed in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League no matter how the final two games play out this season.
While that may already give some Athletic fans a sigh of relief, the Lions would certainly love to finish higher. If they can finish 5th or 6th it would allow them to bypass the qualifying round which can be tricky because it is played at the beginning of the season. Regardless, all Athletic needs at this point is for Barcelona to beat Alaves and the Basques giants will be competing in European play for the fourth consecutive year.
As far achieving a high place in the table is concerned, there is a lot of unknown at the moment. Athletic trails Villarreal for 5th by one point and, as mentioned above, have the tiebreaker over Real Sociedad for sixth. With two games remaining for all, a lot could change over the next fourteen days. In the end, Athletic will finish their season against Atletico Madrid in the final game ever at the Vicente Calderon. That will understandably be a very difficult game. Still, as long as Athletic can manage to win Sunday’s game against Leganes, coupled with Real Sociedad losing one game, they will officially finish in the top six.