Diego Simeone and Marcelo Bielsa have joined forces to predict a “unique” and “special” Europa League final in Bucharest on Wednesday (Atletico Madrid 5/6 Athletic Club evens – to lift the trophy bet365’s live soccer betting).
Two of the biggest rivals in La Liga away from the powerhouses of Real Madrid and Barcelona clash for what should be a momentous occasion at the National Arena – a game made all the more curious by the numerous sub-plots.
The two clubs are both under the stewardship of Argentinian coaches, wear near-identical kits and their names almost sound the same.
“A final is something unique and not to be repeated and that is the difference,” said Athletic Club coach Bielsa.
Atheltic embarrassed Manchester United over two legs to make the rest of the competition sit up and take notice, and, in principal striker, Fernando Llorente, possess arguably one of the most sought-after goal-getters in European football.
Bielsa said Athletic might need a performance similar, if not better, than the aggregate win against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Premier League champions to cap an astonishing season.
He added: “What we need to do is to live up to that level and to show as much as we can the team’s potential.”
Atletico won this competition two years ago and boast a goal-machine of their own, Falcao who was last season’s final match-winner. They are also unbeaten in seven matches heading into the Romania showpiece and the soccer betting tips are tipping them to lift the trophy again.
Bet365 has priced Atletico Madrid up the 7/5 favourites to win in 90 minutes, while the draw is available at 12/5 and Atheltic Club can be backed at 19/10.
Simeone, known as ‘El Cholo’ and a member of Atletico’s 1996 La Liga and Copa del Rey winning squad, said the occasion must not get the better of Falcao and his team-mates.
“A final is always special,” he said. “We have to live it with the hunger of a boy who’s just started out and the experience of a player who’s been around a long time.”