MX23RW : Sunday, January 20 01:27:21

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
1Barcelona19134253203343
2Atletico MadridAtletico20118130131741
3Real Madrid2011363024636
4Sevilla209653122933
5AlavesAlaves209562223-132
6Getafe208752516931
7Valencia2051141918126
8Real Betis197572223-126
9Real Sociedad197482322125
10GironaGirona195952123-224
11Espanyol197392127-624
12Levante196583035-523
13Athletic Bilbao1941052025-522
14EibarEibar195772128-722
15Leganes195771721-422
16Real Valladolid195771721-422
17Celta Vigo205693234-221
18Rayo Vallecano1954102234-1219
19Villarreal193882025-517
20Huesca2025131739-2211

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