MX23RW : Thursday, August 5 15:41:05| >> :120:9052:9052:
Jul 5, 2020 at 1pm UK at San Mames
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
Real MadridReal Madrid

Garcia (39'), Garcia (73'), Muniain (90+5'), Berchiche (90+6')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Ramos (73' pen.)
Ramos (90+2'), Casemiro (90+3'), Carvajal (90+6')

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

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

Real Madrid will be looking to open up a seven-point lead at the top of La Liga when they travel to an in-form Athletic Bilbao on Sunday afternoon.

Los Blancos are currently four points clear of second-placed Barcelona at the summit, while Athletic occupy eighth position, just four points off sixth-placed Getafe in the race for a Europa League spot.

Match preview

Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 6, 2020© Reuters

Athletic have been in impressive form since returning to action after the lockdown period, winning three, drawing two and losing just one of their six matches in Spain's top flight.

The Basque outfit have won three of their last four in the league, including an impressive 2-0 success at Valencia on Wednesday night, with their only defeat since during the same run coming against Barca.

Gaizka Garitano's side are currently eighth in the table, just four points off sixth-placed Getafe, who appear to be battling Villarreal, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid for two Champions League spots.

Athletic have been impressive on home soil in the league this season, winning nine of their 16 matches, which is a record only bettered by Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barca.

They have not beaten Los Blancos in La Liga since March 2015, although four of the last five meetings between the two sides in Spain's top flight have finished level.

Menacing Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos celebrates on July 2, 2020© Reuters

Madrid, meanwhile, made it six straight league victories courtesy of a 1-0 success over Getafe on Thursday night, with Sergio Ramos coming up with a 79th-minute winner from the penalty spot.

Zinedine Zidane's side have now beaten Eibar, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Mallorca, Espanyol and Getafe since returning to action last month, which has seen them move to the top of the table.

The gap to second-placed Barca is currently four points, but the reigning champions do not face Villarreal until Sunday night, meaning that Madrid will have the chance to open up a seven-point advantage when they take to the field against Athletic on Sunday afternoon.

It is difficult to see where Los Blancos are going to drop points as they face Alaves, Granada, Villarreal and Leganes in their final four matches of the season.

Much of the team's success domestically this term has been built on a strong defence, with Zidane's team conceding just 21 times in their 33 matches, which is comfortably the best record in the division.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form: DDWLWW

Real Madrid La Liga form: WWWWWW

Team News

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos celebrates with Eden Hazard after scoring on June 14, 2020© Reuters

Athletic will again be without the services of experienced midfielder Benat due to a hip problem, but the home side are otherwise in good shape when it comes to injuries.

There are not expected to be many surprises in the XI that takes to the field, with Inigo Cordoba likely to keep his spot alongside Iker Muniain, Inaki Williams and Raul Garcia in the final third.

Mikel Vesga for Unai Lopez is potentially a change that could occur in the middle of the park, although Garitano is unlikely to make many alterations from the side that impressively won at Valencia.

As for Madrid, key centre-back Raphael Varane is a doubt with a head injury after being forced off against Getafe on Thursday night when he was hit in the face by the ball.

Los Blancos will allegedly not make a final decision on the Frenchman until the morning of the match, although various reports in Spain have suggested that he will be available.

Nacho is still on the sidelines through injury, but Eden Hazard was only rested against Getafe and is likely to return to the starting XI for this match, potentially joining Karim Benzema and Isco in attack.

Zidane also has a decision to make when it comes to his midfield, and there is a chance that Federico Valverde's energy could be preferred to Luka Modric's experience alongside Casemiro and Toni Kroos.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Capa, Yeray, Martinez, Yuri; Lopez, D Garcia; Muniain, R Garcia, Cordoba; Williams

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde; Hazard, Benzema, Isco

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Real Madrid

As mentioned, four of the last five La Liga meetings between these two sides have finished level, while Madrid have not won at San Mames in the league since March 2017. Los Blancos are on a roll at the moment, but Athletic are also in impressive form, and we fancy a low-scoring draw on Sunday night.

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Casemiro celebrates scoring with Real Madrid teammates on June 28, 2020
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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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1Athletic Bilbao00000000
2Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
5Celta Vigo00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Betis00000000
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17Real Sociedad00000000

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