Title-chasing Real Madrid will play their penultimate game of the season away at Athletic Bilbao here, and confidence will be high having not lost to the Basque side since March 2015.
La Liga 2020/2021
Venue: San Mames
Athletic Bilbao were on a nine-game unbeaten run in the league till a defeat last Wednesday at the hands of Huesca, and two cup final defeats sandwiched in between that run took away the shine from what’s been a slow but steady progression into the top half of the table after a horrible start to the season.
Marcelino’s side have already beaten Real this season albeit in the Spanish Super Cup and with narrow wins over other title contenders in Atletico Madrid and Sevilla over their last five games, Bilbao approach this one yet with a sense of optimism.
Real Madrid are riding a 16-game unbeaten run in the division and made light work of Granada recently, winning comfortably 4-1 away from home. Having been knocked out of the big one by Chelsea in the Champions League semis and then losing out in the Copa del Rey to third division side CD Alcoyano, Zinedine Zidane and his side have had a below-par campaign and are only relying on help if they will taste silverware this term.
Failure to retain their La Liga title this season is only looking a big failure for Los Blancos, but with still just two points separating them from city rivals and league leaders Atletico Madrid with two games left, Real fans would be expecting nothing less than a win to keep the pressure on at the top of the log.
Athletic Bilbao are missing a handful of players with Iker Muniain, Ander Capa, Yuri Berchiche, Peru Esnal, Íñigo Lekue, Oier Zarraga all out.
Dani Garcia is in a race against time to be fit for the game.
Zinedine Zidane is missing a luxury of defenders with Ferland Mendy, Sergio Ramos & Dani Carjaval all set to miss the trip to San Mames.
Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Lucas Vazquez & Alvaro Odriozola also remain sidelined.
Athletic Bilbao’ last five La Liga games: WDWDL
Real Madrid’s last five La Liga games: WDWDW
Athletic Bilbao have only one home win in their last 10 league games against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid have lost only once in their last 20 league games against Athletic Bilbao.
Karim Benzema is Real Madrid’s top scorer in the top-flight with 22 goals this season. He’s also scored six goals in their last five away league games and he’s scored in his previous two encounters against Bilbao this season.
Throw in the fact that he has has netted 13 La Liga goals against this opposition and you guess he’d be back in it here. He’s 11/4 to open the scoring, and 5/6 to score anytime.
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