Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Real Madrid vs Ath Bilbao - Match Preview
⚽ 4 June 2023 - 16:30 GMT +0
Much of the build-up to Real Madrid’s final La Liga (LL) game of the season against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday evening has been dominated by what may happen off the pitch once the transfer window opens, particularly concerning Karim Benzema’s future amid strong speculation about a possible move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad. But there’s still one more job to do as they need to win here or hope city rivals Atlético Madrid drop points against Villarreal in order for Los Blancos to secure second place following their 2-1 comeback win over Sevilla last Saturday.
Despite winning three trophies this term, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will no doubt feel a sense of disappointment about the way this campaign has ended, given how far behind Barcelona they’ll finish in the league and the manner of their UEFA Champions League semi-final exit to Manchester City. However, the 35-time LL winners should still be motivated to make it five home league wins in a row ahead of a busy summer of transfer activity.
Thanks to Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey win over Osasuna, Athletic can still qualify for Europe, but as one of several teams chasing seventh place. They must better Osasuna’s result and at least match Girona’s, with those two sides coincidentally facing each other this weekend. A win would also prevent Rayo Vallecano and Mallorca from pipping the Lions to the post, but three points is a tall order for Ernesto Valverde’s side, as the Basque outfit hasn’t claimed a LL H2H victory since March 2015 (D4, L11)!
And you have to go back ten years further still to find the last time they triumphed against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in Spain’s top flight (D2, L15 since), highlighting how hard it will be to end a three-match winless run in LL away matches (D1, L2). In fact, they’ve won just once anywhere across their last seven games (D1, L5).
📋 Players to watch: As he weighs up a big-money offer from Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad, this could be Karim Benzema’s Bernabéu farewell as he looks to add to his tally of 18 league goals this term, the last ten of which came before half-time. Similarly, Iñaki Williams, who’s scored two of Athletic’s last four goals, opened the scoring in seven of his nine goalscoring outings this LL campaign.
⚡ Hot streak: Athletic have lost each of their last six LL final-day fixtures - and the last five of them ‘to nil’.
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