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Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid: Predictions
Atletico Madrid have so far held their nerve as we approach the finishing line in La Liga, but any slip-ups are likely to be capitalised on by the chasing pack, with Real Madrid just two points behind in second and waiting to pounce, making this game against Athletic Bilbao a must win for Zinedine Zidane.
The Frenchman rolled the dice against an increasingly-impressive Granada last time out, dispatching the Andalusians 4-1 with a heavily-rotated and youthful side, which included the likes of unheralded teenager Miguel Gutierrez, as well as 20-year-old duo Rodrygo and Marvin Park.
The tactical gambit paid dividends as Zidane kept the likes of Toni Kroos on ice for what should prove a difficult contest in the Basque Country, with Athletic Bilbao already tasting victory over the capital club in the Supercopa de Espana semi-finals this term, in which they went on to win, beating Barcelona in the final.
Mid-season appointment Marcelino also masterminded a Copa del Rey final appearance, with Barca getting revenge and thrashing them 4-0, but to reach the showpiece underlines exactly the kind of threat Los Leones pose, and Zidane will know that.
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Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid: Match Stats
The final two games are simply make-or-break for Real. They will be hoping Atleti slip up at some point to steal a march in the title race, but they cannot worry about external forces for the time being, instead focusing on their game this weekend, which is where Karim Benzema comes into view.
Defensively Athletic Bilbao have proven stubborn this season, conceding just 39 goals in La Liga, the sixth-best rearguard record in the division, but Benzema is a man who relishes this fixture, having scored more goals against the club than versus any other opponent in his career (14), including three this season across all competitions.
There are also likely to be a high proportion of corners in this match as Real Madrid (207) and Athletic Bilbao (192) rank first and third respectively for most corners in La Liga this season, such is the emphasis from both managers on stretching the play and exploiting the flanks with overlapping full-backs.
Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Real Madrid
14 Jan 2021 – Real Madrid 1-2 Athletic Bilbao – Supercopa de Espana
15 Dec 2020 – Real Madrid 3-1 Athletic Bilbao – La Liga
05 Jun 2020 – Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Real Madrid –La Liga
22 Dec 2019 – Real Madrid 0-0 Athletic Bilbao – La Liga
21 Apr 2019 – Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao – La Liga
There have been two highly-competitive fixtures between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao this season, first meeting in La Liga during the festive period, in which Raul Garcia collected two yellow cards within the opening 15 minutes but the visitors still pushed Los Blancos to the wire. With the scores level heading into the final 10 minutes, Benzema netted to put Real 2-1 up, before executing a coup de grace in the 94th minute to complete his brace. A month later Athletic Bilbao sought revenge and sealed a 2-1 win in the Supercopa de Espana penultimate round en route to cup glory.