Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews

14 October 2021

Santiago Bernabéu – La Liga

Thibaut Courtois reacts during Real Madrid's defeat to Espanyol

Source: Jose Breton/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Real Madrid look to overcome a poor run of form as they host Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday. Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain top of the table and are favourites to win according to Spin Sports’ football betting online.

Past Meetings

Nacho scored the only goal of the game to secure the win for Real Madrid when the sides last met. However, Athletic Bilbao did pull off a win at the Bernabéu last season, with Raúl García scoring twice in a Supercopa de España victory.

Team News

Eden Hazard once again looks set to miss out after the Belgian suffered a knock in the Nations League semi-finals, although he may be fit enough to feature on the bench. Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos are both sidelined through injury, although the full-back trio of Marcelo, Ferland Mendy and Daniel Carvajal could all return for Sunday’s match.

Marcelino is not expected to make many changes to his line-up, with Peru Nolaskoain the only absentee. It would come as no surprise to see Bilbao field the same XI as in their win over Deportivo Alavés before the international break, with the Iñaki Williams-Raúl García partnership up front and Iker Muniain and Alex Berenguer providing support on the flanks.

Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao Preview and Predictions

Real Madrid hope to protect their narrow lead in La Liga as they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have lost their last two games in a row and will be keen to return from the international break with a win.

Looking at the table, Marcelino’s side appear a distance below their Sunday rivals in seventh place. However, an against-the-odds win for the the Basque club would see them jump to within one point of Real Madrid. None of Spain’s big three sides have started the season particularly well, which has opened the door for the likes of Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Sevilla to remain within touching distance.

Athletic Bilbao are historically the fourth most successful team in Spain, but have failed to enter the Champions League since 2013-14, while their most recent Europa League campaign was in 2017-18. With Real Madrid looking far from their best, Sunday could provide a chance for the Lions to secure three vital points early in the season.

For the hosts, Sunday’s match could also be pivotal, with pressure already starting to mount on Carlo Ancelotti. The manager’s return to Madrid has not gone as well as expected, with Los Merengues now without a win in three, a spell which included a shock defeat in the Champions League to FC Sheriff. For now, this has not impacted the team in a meaningful way, but failure to win this weekend could see Real Madrid lose their lead.

Ancelotti’s side have by no means been playing bad football, but last season’s issues of vulnerability on the counter-attack have persisted. Madrid dominated with 65% possession against Espanyol but still conceded four shots on target, which could well prove a problem against a Bilbao side who’ve averaged just 45% possession themselves so far this season.

Marcelino will be well aware of his opponents’ weaknesses, with Iñaki Williams well placed to exploit them. However, whether the visitors are able to keep the in-form Karim Benzema from outscoring them remains to be seen.

Recommended Bets

Under 3.5 goals

There have not been over 3.5 goals scored in any of Bilbao’s games this season.

Real Madrid to win and BTTS

The hosts have just two La Liga clean sheets this season but should still be good value for the win.

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