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Preview: Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups

Real Madrid will be looking to make it three straight wins in La Liga when they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Tuesday night.

Los Blancos, who currently occupy third spot in the table, will enter the clash off the back of a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid on Saturday, while 12th-placed Athletic claimed a point at Valencia.

Match preview

There was a lot of pressure on Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane following back-to-back defeats to Alaves and Shakhtar Donetsk at the end of November and start of December, but it has been an excellent week for the club, who have now won their last three matches in all competitions.

Indeed, a 1-0 success at Sevilla on December 5 was followed by a 2-0 home victory over Borussia Monchengladbach, which saw them advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Los Blancos then beat bitter rivals Atletico 2-0 on Saturday courtesy of a goal in either half, and it was a huge result against a team flying high at the top of La Liga and unbeaten in Spain's top flight since February.

Zidane's side moved into third spot on Saturday and will hold onto that position heading into Tuesday's contest as fourth-placed Villarreal were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Betis on Sunday afternoon.

The gap to leaders Real Sociedad is just three points, and the reigning champions have a game in hand over the Basque club. That said, second-placed Atletico are level on points (26) with Sociedad and have played a game fewer than their capital rivals, meaning that Diego Simeone's side are still in a strong position.

Athletic, meanwhile, will enter Tuesday's clash off the back of a 2-2 draw with Valencia on Saturday, which has left the Basque club in 12th position in the table.

Gaizka Garitano's side have actually lost half of their 12 league games this season, but a record of four wins and two draws has seen them collect 14 points, which represents a fairly solid start to 2020-21.

Athletic have only picked up one away win in the league this term, although they have taken points off Getafe and Valencia in their last two fixtures on the road, and there is no question that the eight-time La Liga champions are capable of making it very difficult for Madrid in this game.

The Basque outfit actually picked up a point in the corresponding clash between the two teams last season, although they have only beaten Los Blancos once in Spain's top flight since January 2010.

Real Madrid La Liga form: WLDLWW
Real Madrid form (all competitions): WLLWWW

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form: WLWDLD

Team News

Madrid will again be without the services of Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic through injury, while Mariano Diaz and Martin Odegaard remain doubts for Tuesday's contest in the capital.

Zidane will also be unable to call upon Casemiro as the Brazil international is suspended due to the booking that he picked up against Atletico, meaning that fit-again Federico Valverde could earn a recall in midfield.

Rodrygo Goes and Marco Asensio are among those pushing for spots in the side, but it seems likely that Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior will again support from Karim Benzema in the final third of the field.

As for Athletic, Peru Nolaskoain will again miss out through injury, while Mikel Vesga has emerged as a doubt, having been replaced at the interval against Valencia.

Unai Lopez is on standby to come in for Vesga if the midfielder is unable to recover for this match, but Garitano could otherwise stick with the same side that featured against Los Che.

Raul Garcia came off the bench to score at the Mestalla, but Asier Villalibre could again lead the attack with support from Inaki Williams, Iker Muniain and Alex Berenguer.

Source: Sports Mole / Matt Law

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Valverde, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Capa, Yeray, Martinez, Yuri; D Garcia, Lopez; Berenguer, Muniain, Williams; Villalibre

Source: Sports Mole / Matt Law  

 

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