Alaves take on the visitors Eibar in the second leg of promotional playoffs in Spanish LaLiga2. The first leg result: 1-1. The match will be played on Thursday, June 8th at Estadio Mendizorrotza (Vitoria-Gasteiz).
Alaves have managed to climb to La Liga twice in this century. Interestingly, both times they started brightly: first by qualifying for European competitions and even reaching the UEFA Cup final, where they had an impressive match against Liverpool. In the 2016/2017 season, parallel to their first season after returning from Segunda, they also made it to the Copa del Rey final. At the same time, they secured a 9th-place finish in La Liga, although they couldn't come close to replicating that success. They hovered below the equator but above the relegation zone... until they deflated a year ago, going down from second-to-last place. Nevertheless, even at a lower level, Alaves was considered a favorite in the tournament. They somewhat lived up to that expectation but lost their fight for direct promotion back to La Liga. Their poor finish with only 4 wins in the last 14 matches, including a 0-0 draw in the final match of the regular season against direct competitor Las Palmas, cost them. They ended up one point behind their opponent, allowing them to secure direct promotion and sending Alaves to the playoffs. They started the playoffs with an away draw.
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Eibar were never particularly highly regarded. However, in the past decade, they not only managed to reach La Liga but also stayed there for seven seasons, from 2014 to 2021. A significant factor in such stability was the excellent work of Mendilibar, who recently won the UEFA Europa League with Sevilla. But nothing lasts forever, and Jose Luis' ideas ran out in the season before last. He lost his position, and the team lost its spot in the top tier of Spanish football. However, on both occasions, they fought hard for a new promotion and fell short by just 1-2 points. Last year, Almeria and Valladolid were stronger. It seemed like the lessons were learned as they led in this season's tournament in the midst of spring. However, they already had a winless streak back then. In the end, it reached nine consecutive matches - 3 losses and 6 draws. They woke up, though, before the end of the regular season, with a 1-0 victory over Eibar away. But it was too late; they once again fell one point behind the second-place team. And then they couldn't win against Alaves at home.
This season, the clubs faced each other after a year-long break. And Alaves was better in the standard season: 0-0 away and 2-0 at home. Eibar couldn't win at home, and it is unlikely they will perform better away. We recommend betting on a victory for The Bean Destroyers on their home turf.
Prediction for the match: Alaves to win.