With one match still to play at time of writing, which will effect Bilbao’s place in the draw for the round of 32, the most intriguing potential opponent at this point is probably Roberto Soldado’s Villarreal.
Here’s the good news before anyone freaks out... Soldado wouldn’t play if Spurs drew Villarreal because he is still recovering from a preseason leg injury. So, no, the “Soldado hat trick sinks Spurs,” headlines are not coming. That said, if we want an opponent for the next round that doesn’t require insane travel, isn’t that good, and is still kinda fun as an opponent... Villarreal is the best pick.
The other options include annoying long road trips (hi, Hapoel Be’er Sheva!) or far more challenging fixtures (‘Gladbach or Bilbao). Villarreal hits that nice sweet spot between “they actually aren’t that good this season,” and “they’d be a fun opponent.”
Who is your ideal opponent for the next round? What do you think of my Villarreal pick?