Madrid, April 4 (IANS) Three Spanish football sides are in Europa League action Thursday night as they look for a place in the semifinals of the competition.
Athletic Club Bilbao are the best placed side to progress following their 4-2 win away to Schalke 04 last week. The result leaves the German team needing to score at least three goals in the San Mames stadium to make progress.
The game will be memorable because it could be the last game for former Real Madrid star Raul Gonzalez.
The veteran forward scored both of Schalke's goals in the first leg and can expect a good send off from the Athletic fans.
Athletic are without the suspended Ander Iturraspe and Borja Ekiza will step into the side to replace him.
Valencia have a more difficult task as they look to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, Xinhua reports.
Valencia look to be running out of steam in the closing weeks of the season and coach Unai Emery is under pressure after a run of three defeats and a draw from his side' s last four games.
The good news is that striker Roberto Soldado should be back in action for Valencia.
Atletico Madrid meanwhile defend a 2-1 first leg lead when they travel to play Hannover.
Coach Diego Simeone has Juanfran Torres, Gabi Fernandez and Arda Turan all out through suspension and will have to make changes to his usual starting eleven.
Atletico' s Brazilian midfielder, Diego can expect a hostile reception from the Hannover fans as a result of a reputation for diving that he picked up while playing for Werder Bremen.
Should Atletico and Valencia both progress, they will meet each other in an all-Spanish semi-final, while Athletic will play the winner of the tie between Sporting Lisbon and Metalist Kharkiv.
Read More: UNODC | UNAIDS | UNESCO | UNHCR | UNICEF | UNIDO | United Nations Volunteers | UNIFEM | WFP | World Bank | UNIC | ILO | United nations | IAEA | POSCO | Una | Gym Khana Club | Rail Coach Factory Dso | Unai | Arda Bo | Unai Vaniyambadi | Kharki