Football Previews

Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao preview, predictions & team news

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:00, 22 December 2019

Real Madrid host Athletic Bilbao in their final La Liga game of 2019.

Zinedine Zidane’s side are level on points with Championship leaders Barcelona and know if results go their way then it will be them heading into Christmas on top.

As for the visitors, it’s about ending a two-match winless streak, but it’s easier said than done in the Spanish capital against the 13-time European champions.

Read on for our Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.

When is Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao and where can I watch live?

Competition: La Liga

Venue: Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Date: Sunday, 22 August 2019

Kick-off: 8:00 PM

TV coverage (UK): LaLigaTV / Premier 2

Last five meetings: Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao

21 Apr 2019: Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao (La Liga)

15 Sep 2018: Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Real Madrid (La Liga)

18 Apr 2018: Real Madrid 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (La Liga)

2 Dec 2017: Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Real Madrid (La Liga)

18 Mar 2017: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Real Madrid (La Liga)

Aggregate Score: Real Madrid (WDDDW) 7-3 Athletic Bilbao (LDDDL)

Ones to watch

Real Madrid: Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema recently celebrated his 32nd birthday and despite notching over 150 league goals for Real Madrid, there are still many who doubt his place in their starting lineup. At the moment, he co-leads the race for this season’s golden shoe with Lionel Messi and continues to roll back the years.

Key stat: No one has scored more La Liga goals (12) than Karim Benzema this season.

Athletic Bilbao: Raúl García

The former Atlético Madrid midfielder will no doubt relish the opportunity to pour misery over Real this weekend. He’s been on the top of his game for Athletic this season and will be having close attention paid to him by Sergio Ramos and company.

Key stat: Raúl García has been directly involved in six league goals this season (five goals and one assist) , more than any other Athletic Bilbao player.

Team news

Real Madrid

Zidane has no fewer than five players missing through injury. Marcelo, James Rodriguez, Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez are all ruled out. Casemiro, meanwhile, will be serving a one-match suspension. Luka Modric, who came off the bench against Barcelona, should return to Real’s starting lineup.

Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Nacho; Valverde, Modric, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Bale.

Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.

Athletic Bilbao

Gaizka Garitano is without influential forward and captain Iker Muniain as well as striker Aritz Aduriz. Both join Óscar de Marcos on the treatment table, while right-back Ander Capa is suspended.

Predicted XI: Simon; Layer, Alvarez, Martinez, Berchiche; Garcia, San Jose; Williams, Lopez, Cordoba; Garcia.

Squawka prediction

Real Madrid have been solid at home of late. Zidane’s side have won six of their last seven games while Athletic go into this weekend’s showdown having claimed just one win across their last 10 away trips. We expect the visitors to leave disappointed in what should be a closely fought game. 

Scoreline prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao