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Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid at San Mames.

Real Madrid will attempt to extend their lead at the top of La Liga to five points when they travel to Basque outfit Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

With Barcelona not in action until Sunday, victory for the league leaders would give them clear breathing space ahead of El Clasico later this month.

Bilbao, however, will enter the match having lost just one of their last six in the league. Ernesto Valverde's side also booked their spot in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday with an impressive 2-0 win at Espanyol in the second leg of their semi-final.

Last time out in the league, Bilbao won 1-0 at Eibar and they have conceded just twice in their last five games in Spain's top flight, with that run of form moving them into 10th position.

Since losing to Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid have won three of their four matches, but they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal last weekend.

The capital outfit also have the best away record in the league this season - winning 10 of their 13 games and scoring 39 times in the process.

Incredibly, Real Madrid have won 17 of their last 19 league meets with Bilbao - losing just once. In terms of the more recent meetings, Los Blancos beat Bilbao 5-0 in the reverse league match earlier this season.

Bilbao boss Valverde has no fresh injury worries ahead of the match, with Ander Iturraspe their only major absentee. Markel Susaeta and Benat, however, should both return to the XI after sitting out Wednesday's match at Espanyol.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, are still without the services of Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez and Luka Modric. As a result, Carlo Ancelotti is expected to stick with the same team that drew with Villarreal last time out.

Bilbao:

Form in La Liga: DWLDWW
Form in all competitions: DDWLWW

Possible starting lineup: Iraizoz; Iraola, Laporte, Gurpegi, Balenziaga; Rico, Benat; De Marcos, Susaeta, Muniain; Aduriz

Real Madrid:

Form in La Liga: WWLWWD
Form in all competitions: WLWWWD

Possible starting lineup: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Silva, Isco, Kroos; Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale

Sports Mole says: 1-3

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Athletic Bilbao's forward Aritz Aduriz celebrates a goal during the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs Sevilla FC at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on November 2, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814

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