Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid preview and predictions for this Saturday’s clash in La Liga. Read on for our analysis as Los Blancos prepare for a hostile welcome in the Basque Country.
DATE/TIME – Saturday 15th September 2018, 20:45 (CEST)
STADIUM – San Mames
COMPETITION – La Liga
It really is a mouth-watering Saturday of action in the Basque Country. By the time this one has kicked off, Barcelona will have already played their game 100km east in San Sebastian and Real Madrid have an equally tough engagement at San Mames. The Bilbao fans never offer Los Blancos the warmest of welcomes and it should be a cracking atmosphere particularly with Athletic looking to make forward strides under new management.
This is only Athletic’s third game of the season and it’s their third home match after their trip to Rayo was postponed prior to the international break. Therefore they’ve had three whole weeks to stew over Huesca’s late equaliser at San Mames on match-day two. Overall there have been tentative signs of encouragement for Athletic under Eduardo Berizzo and the pace of Inaki Williams should ensure Real’s central defence is in for a testing 90 minutes.
However at the other end, Athletic will have their work cut out as they try to keep an in-form Real Madrid attack quiet. Both Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have appeared almost reborn as footballers this season with Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure seeing them both see more action and also crucially spend more time in their preferred positions. Real have won their last two fixtures 4-1 with 75% of the goals coming from the duo. This will certainly be tougher and it’s perhaps the first major league test of Julen Lopetegui’s reign so it’ll be fascinating to see how they respond to it.
Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid Predictions
Score Prediction: Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Real Madrid
Real Madrid have looked increasingly more assured under Lopetegui following a worrying start in the Super Cup. Their World Cup contingent should now be up to full match fitness with the likes of Luka Modric nursed back following his lengthy run in the tournament. All that suggests Real should be fully ready for this game, which will be a test of character as much as anything. With the experience they have, the San Mames crowd shouldn’t really unsettle them and they have enough quality to beat an Athletic side which is also trying to adapt to the methods of a new coach and build on a bitterly disappointing domestic season last time around.
Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid Match Stats
- Athletic’s last win over Real Madrid came in March 2015 (1-0 at San Mames).
- They’ve lost 4 of the 6 meetings since.
- Real have scored twice or more in all of their last 8 league games.
- They’ve only lost 2 of their last 23 in La Liga.
- Athletic have won just 5 of their last 17 home league games.
One to Watch – Iñaki Williams
— RTn #Vizcaya (@RTn_vizcaya) September 9, 2018
With Artiz Aduriz now heading towards the very swansong of his career, Iñaki Williams is increasingly being used as the main man up top for Athletic. He’s set up both goals against Huesca last time out and his speed will be key as Athletic try to hit Real on the break.
Next in La Liga: Leganes vs Villarreal predictions
Predicted Line Ups
Possible Athletic Bilbao team:
Simon – Marcos, Alvarez, Martinez, Yuri – Muniain, Dani Garcia, Raul Garcia – Williams, Aduriz, Susaeta (4-3-3)
Possible Real Madrid Team:
Courtois – Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo – Modric, Kroos, Isco – Bale, Benzema, Asensio (4-3-3)