Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: Preview, Live stream & TV channel info, Team News, Prediction, Betting odds
Zinedine Zidane will see his managerial credentials put through the paces as his side Real Madrid host Athletic Bilbao at the Santigo Bernabeu in a first of a string of treacherous fixtures pipelined over the next few weeks.
Starting with the Basque outfit, Los Blancos then travel to the Italian capital to take on a resurgent Roma in the Champions League, that will be followed by games against Malaga and Atletico Madrid in the league.
So far, it’s been going great guns for the French gaffer and his troops, stuffing the minnows of the division with a glut of goals, but now, it’s time to smell the coffee. For all the colossal victories at home, the Galacticos will see the going get tough from now on, and how resilient is their title bid on the two fronts, will be tested.
Kick-off and Live Telecast
Date and Time: 13th February 2016 – 08:30 PM (IST)
Live Telecast: Sony ESPN and ESPN HD
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Hosts Real Madrid have a few defensive woes entering the fray as right-back Marcelo sustained a shoulder injury last week at Granada and is sidelined for the clash, whereas centre-back Pepe remains doubtful with a foot injury.
As for the visitors Athletic Bilbao, Markel Susaeta suffered a bout of flu and remains doubtful for the clash, whilst Inaki Williams and Mikel San Jose are both banned.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Danilo; Modric, Kroos, Isco; Rodriguez, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Athletic Bilbao (4-2-3-1): Iraizoz; De Marcos, Boveda, Laporte, Balenziaga; Iturraspe, Benat; Lekue, Eraso, Muniain; Aduriz.
Its quite difficult to describe Real Madrid’s form in one word, given their contrasting nature at home and away. Whilst they have been making mincemeat of the teams coming to the Bernabeu, sloppy is how they’ve been away from there. They were held to a shock 1-1 draw by a gritty Real Betis at El Molinon, and managed to pick up a win at Granada by the skin of their teeth.
Additionally, Real Madrid have been found wanting against the bigger sides of the league, and the visit of Bilbao will see if they’ve improved that frailty.
Last 5 matches: W-W-D-W-W (Last result: Granada 1-2 Real Madrid)
As for Athletic Bilbao, the Basque outfit are grappling to hang on to a Champions League spot. Their campaign so far has been equally interspersed with victories and defeats at regular intervals and now lie 6th in the table.
Veteran striker Aritz Aduriz has been a revelation on which the club is sailing. The recently turned 35-year old Spaniard has 13 league strikes to his name and 25 overall, and life for the Lions would’ve been more difficult had it not been for his impressive scoring exploits.
Last 5 matches: L-W-L-W-D (Last result: Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Villareal)
- Real Madrid have won 6 home games in a row in the league with an average of 5.5 goals scored.
- Real Madrid have won 10 consecutive home games against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.
- Athletic Bilbao custodian Gorka Iraizoz is one of the three goalkeepers in La Liga to save a penalty taken by Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema needs just 2 more goals to equal his best tally of 21 goals in the league.
Real Madrid defence vs Aritz Aduriz
Athletic Bilbao centre-forward Aritz Aduriz will be carrying the scoring burden on his shoulders for the visitors as he’s been doing all this while. The Spanish international has been the guiding light which has carried the club through the tunnel and will be stemming the single biggest threat coming from Los Leones.
Age seems no bar for the 35-year old as he continues to have a keen eye for goal whilst moving forward. He would be eager to add to his 13 goal haul against the mighty Madridstas, and the home side’s defense need to keep close tabs on this danger man.
With Pepe and Marcelo sidelined, the Real Madrid backline won’t be at its usual self, so the onus falls on the likes of Varane and Sergio Ramos to impede the movements of Aduriz.
Real Madrid have been hot to trot at home but stuttered even at the slightest hint of challenge thrown at them. The Los Blancos need to change that and the game against Los Leones will see whether their title ambitions holds any water or not.
Predicted score: Real Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao
Betting Odds (bet365)
Real Madrid – 3/11
Draw – 5
Athletic Bilbao – 10