Real Madrid’s mid-December tour comes to an end this weekend, as Los Blancos return to the Bernabeu to face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night. Zinedine Zidane’s side dropped four points in La Liga after playing away from home three times in a week, culminating in Wednesday’s Clasico against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
Where and when: Santiago Bernabeu – 22 December, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao: Premier Sports, Bet365 live streaming
Last time: Karim Benzema bagged a second-half hat-trick as Madrid beat Bilbao 3-0 when the teams last met at the Bernabeu in April.
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao Predictions and Preview
Real Madrid striker Benzema has barely looked back since netting that treble the last time these teams locked horns, with the Frenchman La Liga’s joint-top scorer with Lionel Messi coming into this weekend’s clash. His performance is likely to be vital, even if he couldn’t manage to find a way past Messi and co on Wednesday night.
The Madrid press was outraged by the performance of the match officials in the Clasico, including the VAR, after Los Blancos failed to win a penalty for a high challenge on Raphael Varane, while seeing a Gareth Bale goal – correctly – ruled out for offside.
Even so, a point away to the champions is not to be sniffed at, and the midweek goalless draw in Catalonia leaves Madrid only trailing Barca on goal difference at the top of the La Liga table. That followed another draw, away to Valencia, and a 3-1 victory away to Club Bruge in the Champions League, which started the capital club’s winter travels.
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Real Madrid to win to nil
Athletic Bilbao to win 2-0
Benzema to score first
Back on home soil, Los Blancos are huge favourites at 2/5 to pick up the win against Bilbao. Real are unbeaten in their last eight games against Los Leones, winning five. Three of the last four have ended as draws though, with a trio of stalemates preceding the most recent encounter between the clubs in April.
Bilbao come into the game without a win in two, having lost away to Real Betis and drawn at home to Eibar last weekend. Gaizka Garitano’s side were unbeaten in five prior to that though, winning four. The Basques are a threat, but they haven’t beaten Real at the Bernabeu in almost 15 years. Los Rojiblancos are 8/1 to repeat that feat this weekend, although the draw would appear more likely if the visitors are to upset the odds, with the stalemate priced at 85/20.
One to watch for Real Madrid: Karim Benzema has been on fire of late. The Frenchman has scored nine goals in his last nine appearances in all competitions, and is the 5/2 favourite to open the scoring on Sunday.
One to watch for Athletic Bilbao: Raul Garcia may have more yellow cards than goals this season, but the midfielder is still Bilbao’s top scorer with six La Liga strikes to his name. He is out at 14/1 to break the deadlock.
Long shot: Bilbao’s last victory at the Bernabeu came courtesy of a 2-0 victory in February 2005, with full-backs Asier del Horno and Andoni Iraola getting the goals. The away team are available at 60/1 to win by the same scoreline this weekend.