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Dec 1, 2021 at 8pm UK
Real MadridReal Madrid
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
Benzema (40')
Modric (68'), Casemiro (77')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Zarraga (31'), Lekue (43'), Williams (77')

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

:Headline: Preview: Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

In their bid to make it five league wins on the bounce, Real Madrid play host to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Los Blancos moved four points clear at the top of the La Liga table with a win over Sevilla at the weekend, while the visitors saw their league winless run stretched to five games.

Match preview

Following the return of manager Carlo Ancelotti over the summer, Real Madrid have had a relatively strong start in their bid to reclaim the La Liga title.

In line with an improvement in the Champions League, with the Madrid giants confirming their passage to the round of 16 with a double over Shakhtar Donetsk and a victory against Sheriff Tiraspol consecutively, they have also strung four league wins together heading into Wednesday.

After wins over Elche and Rayo Vallecano heading into the recent international break, Ancelotti's men picked up where they left off upon the return, firstly thrashing Granada 4-1 thanks to goals from Marco Asensio, Nacho, Vinicius Junior and Ferland Mendy.

Vinicius was again on the scoresheet last time out, as he secured all three points for his side in the dying minutes against Sevilla, after Karim Benzema had drawn them level in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu.

With previous league leaders Real Sociedad falling to a defeat at the weekend, Los Blancos now boast a four-point lead at the summit of the Spanish top flight, having won 10 of their 14 games, and they will be keen to make it five on the spin on home turf on Wednesday.

They welcome an Athletic Bilbao side looking to arrest a slump, with the visitors failing to win any of their last five league outings.

Marcelino's men enjoyed a strong start to the domestic campaign, collecting 16 points from their opening nine La Liga matches, but their form has since taken a dip.

After draws with Espanyol and Real Sociedad, the Basque outfit suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to strugglers Cadiz prior to the international break.

Since their return, Athletic Club have failed to beat Levante and Granada, both of whom sit in the bottom five with the former winless so far this term, playing out disappointing draws on both occasions.

As a result, Marcelino's side have now dropped to eighth spot in the top flight, and they face a particularly tough task on Wednesday in their bid to halt the difficult run and climb back into the top six.

Real Madrid La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Real Madrid form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

Real Madrid should be without midfielder Dani Ceballos and wingers Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale, although the trio have all struggled to nail down starting spots in recent seasons, while the potential loss of attacker Rodrygo could be a bigger concern for Ancelotti.

Eder Militao and David Alaba should again partner up at the back, while the midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro is unlikely to be changed.

Karim Benzema remains a talisman going forward, with the Frenchman currently leading the league scoring charts with 11 goals in 13 league games, while winger Vinicius Junior has also enjoyed an eye-catching season, hitting the net nine times in the league.

Athletic Bilbao will be missing important centre-back Inigo Martinez, who was sent off in the dying minutes of their draw with Granada last time out, while Peru Nolaskoain, Yuri Berchiche, Dani Vivian and Asier Villalibre are all on the sidelines.

Unai Nunez should partner Yeray Alvarez in the absence of Martinez and Vivian, while key forward Inaki Williams will hope to return to the front line on Wednesday.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Vinicius, Benzema, Asensio

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Lekue, Alvarez, Nunez, Balenziaga; N Williams, Vencedor, D Garcia, Muniain; I Williams, R Garcia

We say: Real Madrid 3-1 Athletic Bilbao

Given the form of the two sides, we can only see Los Blancos extending their winning run on Wednesday.

The hosts' front line is full of confidence, while the visitors are far from their best and could be picked apart in the capital.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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7Rayo Vallecano209472721631
9Athletic Bilbao2161052017328
14Celta Vigo206592223-123
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