German club Schalke 04 last night suffered an embarassing 4-2 home defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinals. The Basque side were heading for a draw after Raul’s two goal haul drew the match level on 2 a piece but late strikes from Oscar De Marcos and Muniain put the tie beyond Schalke.
This is another impressive performance from Bilbao who had knocked out heavyweights Manchester United in the round of 16 ties. It definitely will be a mountain to climb for Schalke when they meet in a week’s time at the San Mames Stadium.
In the other fixtures of the night, Alkmaar were 2-1 winners over Valencia while Atletico Madrid recorded a similar score against Hannover. Spoting Lisbon also beat Metalist Kharkivby a similar margin in Lisbon.
Speaking after Schalke’s shock defeat, Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar was all praise for Bilbao as he likened them to Barcelona.
“I saw Athletic against Manchester United, they played like Barcelona; it was extraordinary.” Huntelaar told Kicker Magazine. Of course, Schalke are not quite out of it yet, however, with Bilbao having ascored 4 away goals, the Germans would have to beat them 3-0 at home to make it through to the semis.
Despite that, Huntelaar remain disappointed over the result.
“We didn’t play well over the full 90 minutes. We didn’t take our chances, We lacked determination. Then we fell apart a bit, and could no longer impose our game.”
“Perhaps they think that they are already through. If we keep the pressure up, we can score a quick goal and then we’ll see.We all need to do better, myself included.”
With top class strikers like Raul and Huntelaar, Schalke were considered the favourites for the title, however, that seems to be changing with Bilbao’s strong performances in the past few games.