Real Madrid – Athletic Bilbao preview: Zidane to start rotations

Real Madrid – Athletic Bilbao preview: Zidane to start rotations

Real Madrid Athletic Bilbao preview

Real Madrid will take on Athletic Bilbao on Saturday with an unusual lineup, as Zinedine Zidane will miss three of his regular starters and he will rotate Isco ahead of the Champions League game against Roma.

Gareth Bale, Pepe and Marcelo will be sidelined due to injury, just like Danilo. Zidane will make at least two changes from last week’s starting eleven. Nacho Fernandez is expected to replace Marcelo at left back.

Zidane has also confirmed that Mateo Kovacic will come in to give Isco some rest. James Rodriguez is expected to replace Gareth Bale just like in the past few games. On the other hand, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are not expected to rotate and will complete the midfield line.

Los Merengues have been very successful at the Santiago Bernabeu since Zidane took on the manager job. The have scored an average of 4.5 goals per match and they expect to continue their goal-scoring run against Bilbao.

Cristiano Ronaldo will play against one of his favourite teams. He has scored 14 goals against Athletic, ten of them at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ernesto Valverde also has important losses. Ibai Gomez, Raul Garcia and Markel Susaeta are on the sidelines. Inaki Williams and Mikel San Jose will also miss the game through suspension.

Possible lineups:

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Nacho; James Rodriguez, Kroos, Modric, Kovacic; Benzema, Ronaldo.

Athletic Bilbao: Iraizoz: Boveda, Etxeita, Laporte, Balenziaga; De Marcos, Benat, Iturraspe, Muniain; Eraso; Aduriz.