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Primera División

  • 14 April 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
  • Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
  • • Attendance: 39000
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Athletic Bilbao-Real Madrid Preview: Mourinho's side look to continue good form

Athletic Bilbao-Real Madrid Preview: Mourinho's side look to continue good form

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Los Merengues have won seven of their last eight fixtures in La Liga and will aim to extend that record against the depleted Basque outfit at San Mames on Sunday


Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa will be forced to make several changes for the Primera Division clash against Real Madrid.

Defender Andoni Iraola is sidelined after suffering a hamstring injury in the defeat at Sevilla while Carlos Gurpegui, Aymeric Laporte, Oscar de Marcos and Aritz Aduriz are all suspended.

However, striker Ibai (groin) will be available along with Markel Susaeta, who returns after serving a one-match ban.

Real Madrid trio Michael Essien, Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain are carrying knocks and are unlikely to be involved at San Mames.

Coach Jose Mourinho is certain to make several changes to freshen up his team after an arduous midweek trip to Galatasaray in the Champions League.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Athletic Bilbao have lost five of their last eight matches in La Liga.
  • Los Leones have lost their last six encounters with Real Madrid.
  • Athletic's last home win over Real was a 1-0 success in January 2010.
  • Real Madrid have won nine of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
  • The Blancos will face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-final on April 24 and 30.
  • Jose Mourinho (pictured, right) oversaw his 121st win as Madrid coach in the 5-1 thrashing of Levante. Only Vicente del Bosque (133) and Miguel Munoz (357) have presided over more victories at the Santiago Bernabeu club.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1IraizozGoalkeeper
3AurtenetxeDefender
6San JoséDefender
32Borja EkizaDefender
-RamalhoDefender
8IturraspeMidfielder
14SusaetaMidfielder
21Ander HerreraMidfielder
14Fernando Llorente Striker
11Ibai GómezStriker
19MuniainStriker
13RaúlGoalkeeper
15Andoni IraolaDefender
-Xabi CastilloDefender
-Ismael LópezStriker
5Erik MoránMidfielder
27Ager AketxeMidfielder
2ToqueroStriker
13Diego López RodríguezGoalkeeper
3PepeDefender
4Sergio RamosDefender
12MarceloDefender
33Raúl Albiol Defender
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
19Luka ModricMidfielder
7Ángel Di MaríaMidfielder
7Cristiano RonaldoStriker
9Karim BenzemaStriker
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
2Raphaël VaraneDefender
5Fabio CoentraoDefender
18Nacho FernándezDefender
9Gonzalo HiguaínStriker
7José Callejón Striker
29MorataStriker
Players to Watch
Fernando Llorente
Fernando Llorente
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 14
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Juventus-bound striker is likely to captain Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in the absence of Carlos Gurpegui and Andoni Iraola through suspension and injury respectively. Llorente will hope to redeem his standing with the club's supporters by performing well after a dismal season in which he has found the net just once in La Liga.
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
3 1 1 0
The France international has endured a disappointing season by his standards, scoring just eight goals in 23 Liga appearances. Benzema put in one of his better performances of the campaign in the reverse fixture against Athletic in November and he will look to get amongst the goals again with a huge Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund looming.
Prediction
Real will not be bothered too much even if they lose on Sunday and their focus will be firmly on arriving in peak condition for the Champions League and the Copa del Rey games. Bielsa's Athletic have waned after a stellar season last time out and could be in for a long night with nearly half their first XI ruled out of action.
Editor's Prediction

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