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Primera División

  • January 22, 2012
  • • 20:30
  • • Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
  • Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
  • • Attendance: 75000
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La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Athletic Bilbao

La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Athletic Bilbao

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Jose Mourinho's side welcome the Basque outfit to Santiago Bernabeu just four days after the Clasico defeat at the hands of Barcelona


PROBABLE LINEUPS

REAL MADRID


Casillas
Arbeloa, Ramos, Carvalho, Coentrao
Xabi Alonso, Diarra
Callejon, Ozil, Ronaldo

Benzema

ATHLETIC BILBAO



Iraizoz
Iraola, Martinez, Amorebieta, San Jose
Iturraspe, Ander
Susaeta, De Marcos, Muniain

Llorente

Jose Mourinho has a few selection issues going into the game at Santiago Bernabeu. Pepe looks set to miss two weeks of action after picking up a hamstring strain in the Clasico during the week.

There are also some doubts over the fitness of Sami Khedira, who sprained his ankle in the match against Malaga, and Angel Di Maria, who picked up an injury in training.

Alvaro Arbeloa returns from his suspension and should slot in at right-back, while Jose Callejon may be given a chance on the right-hand side with Di Maria out injured.

Athletic have a number of players currently being treated for a variety of problems. Aitor Ocio, Carlos Gurpegi, Xabi Castillo, Igor Martinez, and Igor Gabilondo are all currently undergoing physiotherapy, and all are doubtful.

Fernando Amorebieta has a minor sprain in his left ankle and trained apart from his team-mates during the week, but is likely to be included in the starting XI for this huge match.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • The last time Real Madrid played Athletic Bilbao, Jose Mourinho's side came away with a 3-0 away victory at San Mames, with Kaka grabbing a brace and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring to seal the win.
  • Iker Casillas will make his 600th appearance for Real Madrid in this match.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored just five goals less than the entire Athletic Bilbao squad so far this season in La Liga. The Portuguese has netted 21 times and the Basque outfit have scored 26 times.
  • Athletic Bilbao are currently in fifth place in La Liga on 26 points, just four away from the coveted Champions League positions.
  • The Basque side last defeated Real Madrid in January 2010, thanks to an early Fernando Llorente goal which gave them a narrow 1-0 victory.
  • Llorente is Athletic's top goalscorer this season with seven goals in 14 appearances.
BARCELONA


Pinto
Montoya, Fontas, Pique, Muniesa
Sergi Roberto, Busquets, Thiago
Pedro, Rafinha, Fabregas

PROBABLE LINEUPS
OSASUNA


Fernandez
Damia, Flano, Sergio, Satrustegui
Nekounam, Raul Garcia, Timor
Lamah, Ibrahima, Torres

BARCELONA


Pinto
Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Adriano
Iniesta, Busquets, Thiago
Cuenca, Fabregas, Pedro

Jose Luis Mendilibar has several injury problems going into the game and will be without Roversio, Kike Sola, Ruben, Jukka Raitala and Ion Echaide, although Raul Garcia could pass a late fitness test to start in midfield.

The home side could give a number of younger players an opportunity, with Roberto Torres and Eneko Satrustegui in line for starts against the Primera Division giants.

With Barcelona holding a commanding lead going into the second leg, Pep Guardiola could use the game to rotate his squad. Jose Manuel Pinto will replace Victor Valdes in goal to resume his usual starting role in Copa del Rey fixtures.

Adriano could start at left-back in place of Eric Abidal with Maxwell apparently close to moving to French club Paris Saint-Germain. Seydou Keita has now joined up with his Malian team-mates for the African Cup of Nations, and Thiago could come into the midfield.

The Catalan club are likely to go into the game with a rotated frontline with the newly crowned Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi, in line for a rest. Isaac Cuenca could also start the game after rejoining the Barcelona first squad after a recent spell training with the B team.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Osasuna have never won the Copa del Rey title yet the club were runners-up in 2005, losing to Real Betis 2-1.
  • The side from Navarre are currently fifth in La Liga, four points behind Levante who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot.
  • Jose Luis Mendilibar's team have conceded 12 goals against the reigning European and Liga champions this season in only two meetings.
  • Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas both grabbed braces to give Barcelona a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the second leg of the tie.
  • Despite their loss in last season's Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid, the Catalans are the most successful side in Spanish cup history, with 25 triumphs.
  • In three Copa games this season, Guardiola's men have scored 14 goals and are yet to concede.
BARCELONA


Pinto
Montoya, Fontas, Pique, Muniesa
Sergi Roberto, Busquets, Thiago
Pedro, Rafinha, Fabregas

PROBABLE LINEUPS
OSASUNA


Fernandez
Damia, Flano, Sergio, Satrustegui
Nekounam, Raul Garcia, Timor
Lamah, Ibrahima, Torres

BARCELONA


Pinto
Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Adriano
Iniesta, Busquets, Thiago
Cuenca, Fabregas, Pedro

Jose Luis Mendilibar has several injury problems going into the game and will be without Roversio, Kike Sola, Ruben, Jukka Raitala and Ion Echaide, although Raul Garcia could pass a late fitness test to start in midfield.

The home side could give a number of younger players an opportunity, with Roberto Torres and Eneko Satrustegui in line for starts against the Primera Division giants.

With Barcelona holding a commanding lead going into the second leg, Pep Guardiola could use the game to rotate his squad. Jose Manuel Pinto will replace Victor Valdes in goal to resume his usual starting role in Copa del Rey fixtures.

Adriano could start at left-back in place of Eric Abidal with Maxwell apparently close to moving to French club Paris Saint-Germain. Seydou Keita has now joined up with his Malian team-mates for the African Cup of Nations, and Thiago could come into the midfield.

The Catalan club are likely to go into the game with a rotated frontline with the newly crowned Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi, in line for a rest. Isaac Cuenca could also start the game after rejoining the Barcelona first squad after a recent spell training with the B team.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Osasuna have never won the Copa del Rey title yet the club were runners-up in 2005, losing to Real Betis 2-1.
  • The side from Navarre are currently fifth in La Liga, four points behind Levante who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot.
  • Jose Luis Mendilibar's team have conceded 12 goals against the reigning European and Liga champions this season in only two meetings.
  • Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas both grabbed braces to give Barcelona a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the second leg of the tie.
  • Despite their loss in last season's Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid, the Catalans are the most successful side in Spanish cup history, with 25 triumphs.
  • In three Copa games this season, Guardiola's men have scored 14 goals and are yet to concede.
BARCELONA


Pinto
Montoya, Fontas, Pique, Muniesa
Sergi Roberto, Busquets, Thiago
Pedro, Rafinha, Fabregas

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
4Sergio RamosDefender
12MarceloDefender
17ArbeloaDefender
2Raphaël VaraneDefender
8KakáMidfielder
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
25Esteban GraneroMidfielder
7C. RonaldoStriker
9Karim BenzemaStriker
1AdànGoalkeeper
5Fabio CoentraoDefender
33Raúl Albiol Defender
4Hamit AltıntopMidfielder
6Lassana DiarraMidfielder
9Gonzalo HiguaínStriker
7José Callejón Striker
1IraizozGoalkeeper
35AmorebietaDefender
6San JoséDefender
15Andoni IraolaDefender
8IturraspeMidfielder
14SusaetaMidfielder
21Ander HerreraMidfielder
8Javi MartínezMidfielder
14Fernando LlorenteStriker
10Óscar De MarcosMidfielder
19MuniainStriker
13RaúlGoalkeeper
25KoikiliDefender
32Borja EkizaDefender
-David LópezMidfielder
17Íñigo PérezMidfielder
2ToqueroStriker
11Ibai GómezStriker
Players to Watch
C. Ronaldo
C. Ronaldo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
4 10 0 0
The Portuguese found the net against Barca in midweek but then drifted out of the remainder of the contest. He will still have some sections of the Madrid support criticising him, and he will be out to maintain his exemplary scoring record.
Muniain
Muniain
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 19
Games Goals YC RC
4 1 0 0
The prodigious youngster is gradually becoming the player the Basque club knew he could be, and there is no better stage than the Santiago Bernabeu in order to showcase his talents.
Prediction
Athletic Bilbao are in a decent run of form, but Madrid remain formidable at home despite their inability to defeat rivals Barcelona. They should record victory and maintain their advantage over their rivals.
Editor's Prediction
Bilbao 0

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