Athletic Club vs Real Madrid Match Preview & Predictions

Athletic Club vs Real Madrid

Athletic Club vs Real Madrid predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga match. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as Los Blancos face a key game in Bilbao.

Date Sunday 16th May 2021
Kick-Off 18:30 (local time)
Stadium San Mames
Competition LaLiga

Athletic Club vs Real Madrid Preview


Athletic Club stadium

Real Madrid face a crucial trip to San Mames this Sunday in LaLiga. They need to win the game to ensure the title race goes to the final weekend. Anything less and Atletico Madrid will be crowned champions on Sunday evening if they win their game against Osasuna.

While they have nothing to play for, Athletic Club, their players and fans, would quite enjoy it if they were to be the side to end Madrid’s title challenge. The Basque giants have already beaten Los Blancos this season on their way to winning the Supercopa in January and it’s never easy for visiting teams at San Mames, no matter what the circumstances.

Their league form hasn’t been good enough to push them into European contention but they’ve still been tough to beat. Athletic had gone 9 without losing in LaLiga before their trip to Huesca in midweek, although admittedly many of those games had been draws. Marcelino opted to rest key players in that match and they ended up losing 1-0 to the relegation strugglers but they should be in a position to field a fresher team here as a result.

Real Madrid are clearly struggling in terms of fatigue now with the games piling up and Zinedine Zidane having little option in some areas but to play the same men due to injuries. In midweek, some of his younger players stepped up and made contributions with Miguel Gutiérrez impressing at left-back while Rodrygo was on target in a 4-1 win at Granada.

Their preparations for this game have been further disrupted with Toni Kroos needing to self-isolate due to COVID-19 protocols. He was one of the players rested in midweek in anticipation of this fixture so it was the last thing Zinedine Zidane needed. One last big effort is needed given their final day fixture at home to Villarreal is very winnable given the visitors are likely to field a second-string side with a Europa League Final three days later.

Head to Head

  • Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 3 Real Madrid Wins, 1 Athletic Win, 2 Draws.
  • Real Madrid are unbeaten on their last 5 visits to San Mames, winning 3 times.
  • They won the reverse fixture 3-1 earlier in the season.
  • However they were defeated by Athletic in the Supercopa Semi-Final in January.

Team News

Ander Capa, Iker Muniain and Yuri Berchiche are still sidelined for the hosts.

Raphael Varane is a doubt for Madrid who are without Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos, Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal.

Predicted Athletic Starting Lineup:

Simon – Balenziaga, Martinez, Nunez, De Marcos – Morcillo, Vencedor, Garcia, Berenguer – Williams, Villalibre (4-4-2)

Predicted Real Madrid Starting Lineup:

Courtois – Gutierrez, Nacho, Militao, Odriozola – Modric, Casemiro, Valverde – Rodrygo, Benzema, Asensio (4-3-3)

Athletic Club vs Real Madrid Prediction: 1-1 Draw

It’s so tough to call this game and the loss of Kroos really does move it more into the balance. Athletic have shown they are capable of raising their game against the top clubs having beaten Sevilla and Atletico Madrid in recent weeks, and they may just have another major influence on the title race here by holding Los Blancos to a point.

Spanish football writer
About Mark Sochon 1538 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has also lived in Seville and Barcelona and has written extensively about Spanish football. His work has been published by the likes of Guardian Sport & World Soccer.