Preview: Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid will be looking to secure second position in the La Liga table when they welcome top-seven hopefuls Athletic Bilbao to Bernabeu on Sunday night.

Los Blancos are currently second in the division, one point ahead of third-placed Atletico Madrid, while Athletic occupy eighth, level on points with seventh-placed Osasuna.

Real Madrid’s La Liga and Champions League double from last season set the bar incredibly high in 2022-23, and as a result, this campaign will go down as a disappointing one despite managing to win the UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and Copa del Rey.

Los Blancos have fallen comfortably short in La Liga, with the gap to the champions Barcelona currently 11 points, and Carlo Ancelotti’s side instead find themselves in a battle with Atletico for second.

A win for Real Madrid in this match would see them claim the spot behind Barcelona, but they could lose and still finish as the runners-up if Atletico fail to overcome Villarreal, with a draw not being enough for Diego Simeone’s side due to their inferior head-to-head record against their capital rivals.

Los Blancos will enter this game off the back of a 2-1 win over Sevilla, and they have been strong at home in the league this season, picking up 43 points from 18 matches, losing just once.

Real Madrid’s away form has ultimately cost them the chance to be in a title race, having suffered seven defeats on their travels, which is something that Ancelotti will need to address for next season.

Athletic have their own reasons for wanting to pick up a positive result on the final weekend of the season, as the Basque outfit are in the running to finish seventh, which would mean qualification for the playoff round of the 2023-24 Europa Conference League.

The fact that the Lions are in this position is slightly surprising considering that they have lost five of their last seven league games, recording just one victory in the process.

Ernesto Valverde’s side will enter this match off the back of successive losses to Osasuna and Elche, but they are eighth in the table, level on points with seventh-placed Osasuna, who have a superior head-to-head record over the Basque side.

Athletic are not the only team in the race for seventh, with Girona, Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla also involved, and it is likely that the Lions will need to win against Real Madrid to stand a chance of claiming the European spot.

The Red and Whites, who last finished seventh in 2016-17, have lost their last six league games against Real Madrid, while they have not beaten the capital side in the league since March 2015, which is an indication of the size of their task on Sunday night.

Real Madrid La Liga form:

Real Madrid form (all competitions):

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:

We say: Real Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic have a lot to fight for on the final matchday of the campaign, but the Basque outfit are again expected to be missing some important players, which could cost them the chance to pick up a positive result. Real Madrid will also be looking to secure the victory which would guarantee second, and we are expecting the home side to collect all three points at Bernabeu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *