Real Sociedad vs Athletic Bilbao H2H: Kubo the Basque derby dangerman

It’s Basque derby weekend in La Liga. Real Sociedad and Athletic Club face off at the Reale Arena with a 21:00 kick-off. Local pride is not the only thing at stake with the two sides both riding high in the top six heading into matchday 8.

Real Sociedad vs Athletic Club H2H
Mikel Oyarzabal of Real Sociedad and Alejandro Berenguer of Athletic Club during the Copa del Rey 2019-2020 final match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad played at Olímpico de la Cartuja Stadium on April 3, 2021 in Sevilla, Spain. (Photo by Antonio Pozo / Pressinphoto / Icon Sport)

Real Sociedad vs Athletic Bilbao H2H Record

There have been 189 meetings between the clubs in all competitions.

  • Real Sociedad Wins: 61
  • Draws: 50
  • Athletic Bilbao Wins: 78

This rivalry predates the start of La Liga in the late 1920’s with Real Sociedad and Athletic Club having fought for regional pride for more than a century in the Basque Country. Athletic have the edge with 17 more victories than their rivals overall.

Real Sociedad have closed the gap in recent years though. They’ve won 6 of the last 11 league meetings and famously won the delayed 2020 Copa del Rey Final between the sides thanks to a penalty from Mikel Oyarzabal in Seville.

LaLiga match (14/1/23) between Real Sociedad and Athletic. In this picture, Yeray and Kubo. Photo by Icon Sport

Last time out…

These sides last met in Bilbao in April. Athletic won the game 2-0 thanks to a brace from Iñaki Williams. It was the third straight derby in La Liga to be won by the team playing at home with La Real having triumphed 3-1 in the reverse meeting earlier last term.

It was also Real Sociedad who’d be celebrating by the end of the season. Despite losing at San Mames, they responded well to clinch 4th place and Champions League football for the first time in a decade. Athletic meanwhile went on to narrowly miss out on the Conference League place on the final weekend.

Inaki Williams
LaLiga Santander match between Athletic and Real Sociedad (15/4/23). Iñaki Williams celebrates after scoring. Photo by Icon Sport

Real Sociedad vs Athletic Bilbao H2H: Potential MVP

Take Kubo has been Real Sociedad’s best player this season and there are few players in the Spanish top flight who have made as much impact. The Japanese international has scored 4 times in 6 league outings and has also regularly been the main source of creativity for his team.

Ominously for Athletic, Kubo was rested in midweek as Real Sociedad claimed a 1-0 win at Valencia to ensure they head into this game in positive mood.

Kubo has made an impact in this fixture before. He scored Real Sociedad’s second goal in a 3-1 win at the Reale Arena last season.

The former Real Madrid man has faced Athletic seven times in his career overall. Aside from last season’s Basque derby win, he’s only come out on top on one other occasion which was for Mallorca during the 2021/22 season.

Real Sociedad: Players in focus

Oyarzabal on the goal trail again

Mikel Oyarzabal bagged a brace in the 4-3 win over Getafe last weekend. Those were his first goals of the season.

Le Normand fresh from a rest

Spain international Robin Le Normand was also rested for the trip to Valencia and will return in central defence.

Tierney’s first Basque derby

Kieran Tierney, a recent addition from Arsenal, has experienced derbies in Glasgow and North London but will get his first taste of the Basque derby this weekend.

Robin Le Normand
Robin le Normand of Real Sociedad vs Bayer Leverkusen at the Reale Arena Stadium on July 29, 2023. Photo by Cesar Ortiz / Pressinphoto / Icon Sport

Athletic Bilbao: Players in focus

Iñaki to strike in the derby again?

Iñaki Williams is in good form and has scored 7 times in this fixture in La Liga, including a brace in the most recent meeting.

Muniain’s time to shine

Iker Muniain’s 91st minute free-kick grabbed a late point for Athletic at the Reale Arena in 2021. With fellow attacking midfielder Oihan Sancet suspended after seeing red in midweek, Muniain is likely to start.

Nico’s race against time

Nico Williams has been missing through injury in recent weeks but could potentially be fit enough to make the bench here.

LaLiga Santander match between Real Sociedad and Athletic (31/10/21). In this picture, Muniain celebrates his goal.

Final Prediction

Real Sociedad are the stronger side and their decision to rest key players at Mestalla in midweek bodes well for their chances here. With home advantage and Kubo in fine form, they may just have the edge in what should be a competitive local derby.

We’re saying 2-1 to Real Sociedad with Take Kubo to score the first goal.

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Mark Sochon

Mark is a freelance football writer based in Madrid. He regularly attends and covers La Liga matches around Spain, whilst also following football across Europe.