Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao
Spanish La Liga
Date: 18th April 2018, Wednesday
Kick-off at 20:30 UK/ 21:30 CET
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid).
Real Madrid could field a rotated squad in the midweek La Liga home fixture against Athletic Bilbao with Barcelona a few points away from clinching the title. Zidane’s prime focus will be on next mid-week’s Champions League semifinal tie against Bayern Munich and they could keep as many key players away from action until then.
It was a heavily rotated squad that helped them edge a 2-1 narrow win against Malaga on Sunday. The win kept them 15 points above the fifth placed Betis needing another 3 points from the remaining 6 league games to confirm the place in Champions League next season.
On the other hand, Bilbao suffered a surprise home defeat to the relegation bound Deportivo on the weekend. They remain at 13th in the standings, but their gap with drop zone is cut short to 13 points. Still, they do not have to panic as teams with 39 points at this stage of the season rarely go down.
Form-wise, Madrid are quite consistent despite heavily rotating the starting eleven on numerous occasions. Before the stalemate against Atletico Madrid last week, the Blancos won 5 home games on the bounce netting 25 goals.
Meantime, Bilbao were blowing hot and cold throughout the season. Just 3 wins come from their last 14 league games and seem to struggle in both home and away games. Yet, they did manage to defeat Villarreal in their last away game, but that came after losing 4 on the bounce.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: Head-to-head
The duels between Athletic club and Real Madrid are often entertaining affairs. But it was a disappointing outing for both teams earlier this season in a match at San Mames that produced no goals.
Madrid won four on the bounce prior to that, all matches seeing over 2.5 goals with both teams finding the back of the net.
Bilbao have only one win to show for from their last 16 matches in all competitions. Nor this they won in their last 13 visits to the Bernabeu and indeed all of them are defeats.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: Prediction
We must expect a fringe Madrid squad starting against Bilbao on Wednesday. This might still turn out to be too strong for the visitors with Nacho being the only player sidelined for the Blancos.
Besides, Bilbao possess the worst possible record at the Santiago Bernabeu. Therefore, the hosts must win this one outright. But key players missing from the start means, the magnitude of the win could come by a narrow margin.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: Bet Tips
Bilbao +1.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.30 odd with Unibet.
Both teams to Score @ 1.73 with the same firm.