La Liga holders Real welcome Athletic Bilbao on Matchday 13 of the calendar. Los Blancos are not in the same predicament as bitter rivals Barcelona but more is expected of Zinedine Zidane and his squad. Elsewhere, the travelling party sit in 14th and only Real Betis have lost more games.
Where and when: Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid – 15 December, kick-off 21:00
Where you can see Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao: LaLigaTV
Last time: A Sergio Ramos penalty was the difference when the sides met at San Mames in July.
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao Predictions and Preview
Under-fire Los Blancos boss Zidane was a relieved man on Wednesday night after his side secured their participation to the Champions League Round of 16.
Real knew they had to take something from the encounter with Borussia Monchengladbach and ultimately topped the group after at one stage it looked like the competition’s most successful team would be going out of Europe altogether.
With Mauricio Pochettino and Max Allegri both waiting in the wings, Zidane had compatriot Karim Benzema to thank and the vice-captain deserves the plaudits coming his way. The 32-year-old played third fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale during a historic period for Los Blancos but the duo would not have been able to flourish without the number 9’s tireless work rate.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
|Sergio Ramos to score anytime||7/2||Offer|
|Real Madrid to win 2-0||6/1||Offer|
|Under 1.5 goals||11/4||Offer|
Benzema has bailed the Spanish champions out on multiple occasions over the last 18 months and the eight-goal attacker is 15/4 to open proceedings. Zidane will be without Eden Hazard who has picked up another injury. The former Chelsea idol limped off during the tie with Alaves and will be replaced by Marco Asensio or Rodrygo with Vinicius occupying the other wide berth.
The young Brazilians are 14/5 and 10/3, respectively, to net anytime, while Luka Modric can be found at 13/2. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner rolled back the years in midweek and still has plenty to offer alongside fellow midfielders Toni Kroos and Casemiro. Real are 2/5 to emerge triumphant.
Visitors Athletic Bilbao are missing the presence and output of retired hero Aritz Aduriz. The San Sebastian native hung up his boots at the end of the previous term and the Basque outfit have been blunt offensively this campaign.
One to watch for Real Madrid: Lucas Vazquez was recently singled out for special praise by Zidane and never lets his team-mates down irrespective of position. The winger by trade is currently featuring as a full-back and is still getting forward with great frequency. Vazquez is 17/2 to notch last.
One to watch for Athletic Bilbao: Raul Garcia turned out for Athletic Madrid for eight years and enjoyed many tussles with Los Blancos. The steely veteran hit 15 in 2019-20 and is 9/1 in the same market.
Long shot: Zidane will hope the comeback in Europe sparks a long-term improvement in both performances and results, but this weekend will all be about climbing the table. Bilbao may lack a cutting edge but are compact and offer total commitment. A hard fought 1-0 outcome in favour of Los Blancos is 11/2.