Real Madrid will seek to improve their game after struggling to beat Bulgarian champions Ludogorets this week in the Champions League. Los Blancos host Athletic Bilbao, who have had a nightmare start to La Liga season.
The Basques seem like a perfect rival for Los Merengues to continue their good run in the league, since they’ve lost all their games at the Santiago Bernabeu for the last nine years. Plus, they’ve only won one game so far this season and sit in the relegation zone.
Carlo Ancelotti will display his regular line-up after having rotated his team against Ludogorets. James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema will return to the starting eleven.
Pepe, who has recovered from a muscle injury, could also make a return, sending Raphael Varane to the bench. That is the main doubt for Los Blancos’ boss, who will miss Fabio Coentrao, Sami Khedira and Jese Rodriguez due to injury. Cristiano Ronaldo has also been suffering some problems during the week, but he has recovered on time.
Striker Aritz Aduriz has been a last-minute loss for Los Leones, suffering from muscle fatigue. Winger Iker Muniain is also a doubt for coach Ernesto Valverde.
Following Atletico Madrid’s loss at Valencia, Real would move into the fourth position if they earn their sixth consecutive win. On the other hand, a defeat would leave them trailing leaders Barcelona by seven points.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Rodriguez; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Athletic Bilbao: Iraizoz; De Marcos, Gurpegui, Laporte, Balenziaga; Iturraspe, Mikel Rico; Susaeta, Benat, Muniain; Guillermo.