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May 2, 2012 9:00 PM BST
Estadio San Mamés — Bilbao
Referee:‬ José Teixeira‎
Attendance:‬ 39500‎
Mesut Özil 20′
C. Ronaldo 50′

Athletic Bilbao - Real Madrid Preview: Los Blancos on brink of 32nd La Liga title

Jose Mourinho's side can clinch the Primera Division crown with victory in the hostile surroundings of San Mames, regardless of Barcelona's result against Malaga

By Karthick Arvinth

 UEFA Champions League Semi Final, Cristiano Ronaldo; Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid CF v Bayern Muenchen
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Iraola, Martinez, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe
Perez, De Marcos
Susaeta, Muniain, Ibai

Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao
Khedira, Alonso
Callejon, Ozil, Ronaldo

Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa is set to field his strongest possible XI for Wednesday's visit of Real Madrid, with Javi Martinez, Iker Muniain, Markel Susaeta and Fernando Llorente all returning to the starting line-up.

Midfielders Ander Iturraspe and Ander Herrera are ruled out through suspension, but left-back Jon Aurtenetxe is available after serving a one-match ban.

Real Madrid have reported no new injury concerns and have a fully fit squad for the trip to the Basque Country. Winger Angel Di Maria serves a ban for accumulating five yellow cards, so Jose Callejon may get a rare start.

Fabio Coentrao could replace Marcelo at left-back, while in midfield, Sami Khedira should return in place of Esteban Granero.

  • Athletic Bilbao have won six of their last nine home matches in La Liga.
  • The Basques have lost nine of their last 10 encounters with Real Madrid.
  • Bilbao face Los Blancos' city-rivals Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on May 9 in Bucharest.
  • Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 20 league matches (W17, D3).
  • Los Blancos have scored in all but one of their last 48 games - a goalless draw against Valencia on April 8.
  • Should Madrid win, Jose Mourinho (pictured right) will become the first coach in history to have won the domestic championship in four major European leagues (Portugal, England, Italy and Spain).

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
6Mikel San José DomínguezDefender
23Borja EkizaDefender
3Íñigo PérezMidfielder
8Javi MartínezMidfielder
10Óscar De MarcosMidfielder
11Ibai GómezStriker
14Fernando LlorenteStriker
13Raúl Fernández MateosGoalkeeper
15Andoni IraolaDefender
-David LópezMidfielder
11Igor GabilondoMidfielder
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
4Sergio RamosDefender
5Fabio CoentraoDefender
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
7C. RonaldoStriker
9Gonzalo HiguaínStriker
7José Callejón Striker
33Raúl Albiol Defender
2Raphaël VaraneDefender
25Esteban GraneroMidfielder
9Karim BenzemaStriker
Players to Watch
Fernando Llorente
Fernando Llorente
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 14
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Needing just two more goals to take his season tally to 30, the 27-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal campaign and has played a significant role in Athletic's ascent to two cup finals. The giant striker will relish lining up against the Madrid backline, which has looked a bit fragile in the past couple of games.
C. Ronaldo
C. Ronaldo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
27 28 4 1
The Portuguese forward will be desperate to keep banging in the goals and pip rival Lionel Messi to the 'Pichichi' crown. However, the former Manchester United ace will need to step up his game in the cauldron of San Mames, where Athletic's defensive tactic of ambushing the ball carrier can make possession difficult to hold on to.
Probable Lineups
Iraizoz 1
Aurtenetxe 15
Mikel San José Domínguez 6
Borja Ekiza 23
Susaeta 14
Íñigo Pérez 3
Javi Martínez 8
Óscar De Marcos 10
Ibai Gómez 11
Muniain 19
Toquero 2
Fernando Llorente 14
Iker Casillas 1
Pepe 3
Sergio Ramos 4
Fabio Coentrao 5
Arbeloa 17
Sami Khedira 6
Mesut Özil 11
Xabi Alonso 14
C. Ronaldo 7
Gonzalo Higuaín 9
José Callejón 7
Athletic will be fired up for this, as they know a victory will keep the pressure on Levante and Atletico Madrid in the race for European qualification. A raucous San Mames awaits the visitors, who refused to host the May 25 Copa del Rey final between Athletic and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu citing building works going on at the time in the stadium, and the champagne may have to stay on ice until the weekend.
Editor's Prediction
Bilbao 2
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Atl. Madrid
27 5
Messi Messi
26 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
17 0