Athletic Club vs Real Madrid predictions and match preview for Thursday’s Copa del Rey fixture. Read on for expert analysis, the head-to-head and team news as Los Blancos travel to Bilbao.
|Date||Thursday 3rd February 2022|
|Kick-Off||21:30 (local time)|
|Competition||Copa del Rey|
Athletic Club vs Real Madrid Preview
It’s the second night of Copa del Rey Quarter-Final action and it’s the tie of the round at San Mames as Athletic Club aim to blow this competition wide open by knocking out LaLiga leaders Real Madrid on what is sure to be a noisy night in Bilbao.
Athletic are hungry for Copa del Glory glory after two painful near misses in 2021 as they lost two Finals in the space of a fortnight. They gained an element of revenge by defeating 2021 winners Barcelona in the last round of this competition on a dramatic night of cup action in Bilbao. A deserved 3-2 Extra Time win was sealed, in no small part down to an outstanding all-round display from Iker Muniain who netted twice.
They’ve since become the first team to win at Rayo this season in LaLiga so Marcelino’s side should take real momentum into this game. However they may just carry a few scars from having lost to Real Madrid three times since the start of December. Indeed their level of competitiveness in those games has declined from an unfortunate league defeat at the Bernabeu where they created a host of chances to the most recent clash in the Supercopa Final where they were more clearly second best.
This though won’t be the strongest Real Madrid XI they have had to face. The all-important Karim Benzema is a major injury doubt for the game and that alone would really change the outlook of this clash with the Frenchman having scored 4 of Madrid’s 5 goals against Athletic across those 3 recent meetings.
Madrid also have a number of players just returning from international duty in South America. While Casemiro was rested by Brazil on Tuesday night and Vini Junior replaced after an hour, it’s still going to be a big ask for those players to be anywhere near their best just 48 hours later in a game on a different continent. Rodrygo and Fede Valverde have also been in World Cup qualifying action so this will be a test of the depth of a Real Madrid side that was not at all convincing in their last match, a 2-2 home draw against Elche.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 5 Real Madrid Wins, 1 Athletic Club Win.
- This will be the 6th meeting since Marcelino took charge of Athletic only last January.
- Los Blancos have won the last 4, including 3 within the space of the last two months.
- Athletic’s last victory over Real Madrid came via a 2-1 win in the Supercopa in 2021.
Athletic Club vs Real Madrid Predictions
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 2-1 Real Madrid (After Extra Time)
You sense Athletic are really up for this competition and with none of their players having been involved in international football over the past fortnight, their preparation for this game would have been much superior and they won’t have any of the selection headaches that Carlo Ancelotti has. You can never discount Real Madrid and they will still field a team consisting of the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos who are capable of running games almost single-handedly at times, but a fresher Athletic side may just have the edge if this goes the distance.
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