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Real Madrid’s predicted playing XI to face Athletic Bilbao

After a brief international break, LaLiga got underway as Rayo Vallecano got the better SD Huesca in the Gameweek 4 four opener last night. This Gameweek promises a lot of action as defending Champions travel to San Sebastien to take on Real Sociedad while their arch-rivals Real Madrid travel to San Mames to play Athletic Bilbao.

Real Madrid's trip to the Basque region promises a lot of entertainment as Athletic always tend to give their best against Real Madrid, especially when both these teams play at San Mames.  Real Madrid are off to a great start in LaLiga this season as they have won all their three opening matches. They started off the season with a 2-0 win over Getafe at home before they got the better of Girona and Leganes with a 4-1 margin.

Julen Lopeteugi has ensured that his side doesn't feel the absence of their Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and has been playing a system where his team are playing a fantastic brand of football as a unit. Karim Benzema has been threatening as a striker as he is already the league's top-scorer with four goals and has got assistance from his fellow forward Gareth Bale and skipper Sergio Ramos, who have scored three apiece. The trio will look to continue their goal-scoring form when they travel to Basque to take on Athletic later tonight.

Bilbao, on the other hand, started the season with a 2-1 win over Leganes before newcomers Huesca held them to a 2-2 draw in the second Gameweek. Unlike Real Madrid, they have played just two games this season as their third LaLiga game against Rayo Vallecano was postponed to a later date. This means they are yet to play a match over the last three weeks and that could give Real Madrid an advantage going into the encounter.

Venue: San Mames

Time: 2045 local, 0015 IST (16 September)

Telecast details: The match will be telecasted Live on the official team pages and the official LaLiga page on Facebook.

Head-to-Head:

Both these teams have played each other 31 times and Real Madrid have got the better of them on 23 occasions while three matches have ended in a draw.

Last season, Zinedine Zidane's men failed to beat Bilbao even once as they were held to a goalless draw at San Mames while it ended 1-1 when they faced each other at the Bernabeu.  They will look to end their winless streak against Bilbao later tonight while Eduardo Berizzo will look to end Real Madrid's unbeaten start to the season.

Form:

Real Madrid are second on the table with nine points from three games and are behind Barcelona only on goal difference while Bilbao are sixth on the table with four points with a game in hand.

Team news:

Surprisingly, Real Madrid will not have any injury concerns to their players after the international break, something that has not been the case for a while and manager Lopeteugi will have everyone barring Jesus Vallejo for selection. They are likely to field their strongest playing XI but there were reports in AS that they might not start Casemiro in the midfield and Spanish youngster Dani Ceballos, who has been getting more playing time since Lopeteugi took over, is likely to get a place in the starting XI.

Madrid's new number 7 Mariano Diaz is yet to play a single minute this season is likely to start from the bench and Belgium international Thibaut Courtois is likely to likely to get the nod over his Costa Rica compatriot Keylor Navas in front of the goal.

As far as Athletic are concerned, it seems like their veteran striker Aritz Aduriz has regained full fitness after suffering a muscle injury as he trained all week and is likely to play a part against Madrid. However, they will be without their right-back Inigo Lekue.

Predicted playing XIs:

Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Dani Ceballos, Toni Kroos; Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema.

Athletic Bilbao: Unai Simon; Oscar de Marcos, Yerai Alvarez, Peru Nolaskoain, Yuri Berchiche; Dani Garcia, Susaeta, Raul Garcia, Iker Muniain, Inigo Cordoba; Inaki Williams.

Prediction: Real Madrid, who are off to a great start to the season and are playing a beautiful brand of Football are likely to come out on top in spite of their recent struggles at San Mames.

 

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