MX23RW : Thursday, June 30 01:29:16| >> :120:8734:8734:
[monks data]
Dec 22, 2021 at 8.30pm UK at San Mames
Athletic Bilbao
1 - 2
Real Madrid
Sancet (10')
Vencedor (43'), Garcia (61')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Benzema (4', 7')
Junior (42'), Camavinga (62')

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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

La Liga leaders Real Madrid will be looking to return to winning ways on Wednesday evening when they make the trip to San Mames to take on Athletic Bilbao.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are currently six points clear of second-placed Sevilla in Spain's top flight, while Athletic occupy ninth position, having picked up 24 points from their opening 18 matches of 2021-22.

Match preview

Athletic Bilbao players celebrate scoring against Barcelona on August 21, 2021© Reuters

Athletic have won five, drawn nine and lost four of their 18 La Liga matches this season to collect 24 points, which has left them in ninth position in the table, just five points behind fifth-placed Atletico Madrid.

Only Sevilla (two) and Real Madrid (one) have lost fewer La Liga fixtures than Marcelino's side this season, but they had been on an eight-game winless run in the league heading into Sunday's match with Real Betis.

Athletic managed to return to winning ways at San Mames at the weekend, though, with Inaki Williams scoring twice in a 3-2 success, and the Basque outfit will now be eyeing their sixth league victory of the campaign.

The Lions, who finished 10th in Spain's top flight last term, faced Real Madrid in the league earlier this month, suffering a 1-0 defeat at Bernabeu courtesy of a first-half effort from Karim Benzema.

Athletic are actually without a victory against Los Blancos in La Liga since March 2015, while they have lost five of the last six league fixtures between the two sides, including a 1-0 defeat at San Mames last term.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on December 7, 2021© Reuters

Real Madrid, meanwhile, saw their 10-game winning run in all competitions come to an end on Sunday, when they were held to a goalless draw by Cadiz at the Bernabeu.

Los Blancos, missing a number of first-team players through coronavirus, struggled to make their mark against the Yellow Submarine, but it has still been an excellent La Liga campaign to date for the capital giants, who have won 13, drawn four and lost one of their 18 matches to pick up 43 points.

Despite their excellent form, Real Madrid are only six points clear of second-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand, but Ancelotti's side are 14 clear of reigning champions Atletico and some 16 ahead of Barcelona, with both teams considerably off the pace this term.

Los Blancos are unbeaten in all competitions since a 2-1 loss at Espanyol in the league on October 3, with their incredible run of form also seeing them advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League as section winners, but they have been handed a tough draw in the round of 16, with Paris Saint-Germain their opponents.

Ancelotti's team will be eyeing their 14th league victory of the campaign at San Mames before a busy start to January sees them take on Getafe, Alcoyano, Valencia and Barcelona across three separate competitions in quick succession.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Real Madrid La Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Real Madrid form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

Real Madrid's Luka Modric pictured on August 14, 2021© Reuters

Athletic will be able to welcome Dani Garcia back into their starting side following a suspension, but the home side will again be without the services of a number of important players.

Indeed, Asier Villalibre, Dani Vivian, Peru Nolaskoain and Yuri Berchiche remain unavailable through injury, while Inigo Martinez and Unai Simon are both out following positive COVID-19 tests.

Dani Garcia could replace Mikel Vesga in the middle of the park, while Oscar de Marcos scored the late winner against Real Betis off the bench, and the Spaniard's impressive display could earn him a start at right-back.

As for Real Madrid, Rodrygo, Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Andriy Lunin and Marcelo are out following positive coronavirus tests, while Luka Modric will also miss the game despite now testing negative for the virus.

Isco and David Alaba have becoming the seventh and eighth players to test positive, while Dani Carvajal has lost his battle to overcome a muscular problem in time for the game.

Casemiro is definitely out after picking up a booking against Cadiz, while Dani Ceballos is injured, meaning that there could be a start in central midfield for Eduardo Camavinga alongside Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos.

Eden Hazard failed to make the most of his opportunity against Cadiz, though, and the Belgium international could now drop out, with Lucas Vazquez potentially being moved further forward, which might allow Nacho to come into the team at right-back.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Agirrezabala; De Marcos, Yeray, Nunez, Balenziaga; N Williams, D Garcia, Vencedor, Muniain; R Garcia, I Williams

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Vallejo, Mendy; Valverde, Camavinga, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius

SM words green background

We say: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid will again be missing some important players for this match, but it is difficult to ignore their recent record against Athletic. Los Blancos have been victorious on their last two league visits to San Mames, and we are backing the league leaders to secure another huge three points here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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Karim Benzema celebrates scoring for Real Madrid in November 2021
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Carvajal, Benzema 'could miss Real Madrid's clash with Cadiz'
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14Real Betis00000000
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