Real Madrid - Athletic Bilbao Preview: Los Merengues look to maintain winning run
Jose Mourinho's side have won their last four Liga matches and will try to keep the pressure on leaders Barcelona when they entertain the Basques at the Bernabeu on Saturday
By Karthick Arvinth
Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao
Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo
Iraola, San Jose, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe
Susaeta, Muniain, Gomez
Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil are fit for the visit of Athletic Bilbao after recovering from knocks suffered at Levante last weekend.
Sami Khedira (thigh) and Karim Benzema (groin) have returned to training and will be available for Saturday's clash, but Gonzalo Higuain and Marcelo are still sidelined.
Athletic will be without the services of midfield pair Ander Herrera and Oscar de Marcos, who are both suspended.
Inigo Perez and Borja Ekiza are major doubts with ankle problems, while Fernando Amorebieta could miss out after picking up a knock while on international duty with Venezuela.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Madrid have won six of their last seven matches in La Liga.
- With just eight goals conceded, the Castilian giants have the tightest defence in the Primera Division this campaign.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured, right) increased his Liga goal tally to 124 against Levante, surpassing Emilio Butragueno's record for Madrid. However, he still has someway to go to catch all-time club top scorer Raul (228 goals).
- Athletic Bilbao have won just one of their last 13 away matches in all competitions (W1, D3, L9).
- The Basque outfit have lost their last five Liga encounters with Real Madrid.
- Athletic's last Liga victory over Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu was a 2-0 success in February 2005.
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Top 3 Predictions
Real Madrid CF 4-0 Athletic Bilbao
- 15.52 %
Real Madrid CF 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
- 12.96 %
Real Madrid CF 3-0 Athletic Bilbao
- 8.88 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 2, 2014||Athletic Bilbao 1 - Real Madrid CF 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 1, 2013||Real Madrid CF 3 - Athletic Bilbao 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 14, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 0 - Real Madrid CF 3|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 17, 2012||Real Madrid CF 5 - Athletic Bilbao 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 2, 2012||Athletic Bilbao 0 - Real Madrid CF 3|
|Real Madrid CF|
|Mar 9, 2014||Real Madrid CF 3 - Levante 0||LIGA|
|Mar 2, 2014||Atletico Madrid 2 - Real Madrid CF 2||LIGA|
|Feb 26, 2014||Schalke 04 1 - Real Madrid CF 6||UCL|
|Feb 22, 2014||Real Madrid CF 3 - Elche 0||LIGA|
|Feb 16, 2014||Getafe 0 - Real Madrid CF 3||LIGA|
|22||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
|6||Mikel San José Domínguez||Defender|
|20||Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia||Striker|
|13||Raúl Fernández Mateos||Goalkeeper|
|26||Igor Martínez Caseras||Midfielder|
The gifted Frenchman has been in the shadow of Gonzalo Higuain this season and recently voiced his unhappiness over the lack of playing time at the Bernabeu. With the Argentine sitting out Saturday's clash through injury, Benzema will want to make the most of his opportunity and cement his spot in the starting XI.
|Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia|
With eight goals already in La Liga this term, the 31-year-old is undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment following a couple of largely frustrating seasons at Valencia. Aduriz will be keen to keep up his goalscoring form for Athletic and hope to add to his solitary cap for the national team.
Madrid will look to secure a convincing win and build confidence ahead of their trip to Manchester City in the Champions League. Athletic travel to the capital without a couple of key players and may well have damage limitation on their minds.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed