Second-placed Real Madrid are all set to host Athletic Club, who are hoping to secure European football for next season.

Real Madrid will look to end the season on a high with a win when they square up against eighth-placed Athletic Club. The Merengues have not been at their best in the ongoing season, and Carlo Ancelotti will hope to end it on a positive note. Meanwhile, the visitors have a chance of securing a spot in the UEFA Conference League with a win over Los Blancos.

The home team are currently second in the league. They have a one-point lead over third-placed Atletico Madrid and will look to claim the second spot with a win on the final matchday. Real Madrid have the best attack in the league, having scored 74 goals in their 37 matches. They have won their last two league matches and will look to continue the good work against Athletic Club.

Meanwhile, the visitors are currently eighth in the league. They are level on points with seventh-placed Osasuna, who have a better head-to-head record. As a result, a win might not be enough, as other results will also have to go their way.

However, their recent record suggests that it might not be easy for them to claim all three points here. Los Leoes have lost five out of their last seven league games. Athletic Club have only managed to secure four points out of a possible 21. And as a result, they found themselves in such a position.

Last time around when the two teams met in the league, Real Madrid ended up winning 2-0. And, they will be hoping for a similar result. However, Athletic Club will give it their all to come out on top in this outing. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this fixture and tries to predict the tactics they could use.

Team News & Tactics

Real Madrid

Mariano Diaz and Marco Asensio are doubtful for this fixture. Asensio could miss his final game for Real Madrid after it was confirmed that he will leave the club. Meanwhile, Dani Carvajal has returned to the mix following a suspension.

Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make a few changes to the XI that took the field in their last outing. He will start with the 4-3-3 formation, where Thibaut Courtois will start in goal. Dani Carvajal and David Alaba will be the full-backs for this outing. Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao will be the centre-backs.

As far as the midfield is concerned, Toni Kroos will start alongside Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde. The trio will look to have a majority of the ball and dictate the pace of this fixture.

Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Junior will start on either flank. And, Karim Benzema, who has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, will be leading the attack in what could be his final game for Los Blancos.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Kroos, Camavinga, Valverde; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

Real Madrid vs Athletic Club

Athletic Club

Ernesto Valverde will be without the services of Ander Herrera, Dani Garcia, Inigo Martinez, Jon Morcillo and Yeray Alvarez are all expected to be unavailable for this fixture. Meanwhile, Athletic Club should have a boost as Nico Williams, who was absent from their last outing due to illness, is expected to be back in the starting XI.

Ernesto Valverde is expected to go ahead with the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Unai Simon will be in goal. Oscar De Marcos and Yuri Berchiche should start out wide as the full-backs. As far as the heart of the defence is concerned, Dani Vivian will pair up with Aitor Paredes.

Mikel Vesga and Oihan Sancet will form the double pivot in the centre of the park. They will have the difficult task of protecting the back line against a start-studded Real Madrid attack. Iker Munian will feature as the attacking midfielder. Meanwhile, Nico Williams should start this fixture on the left flank, with Alejandro Berenguer Remiro on the right. Inaki Williams is expected to lead the attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Simon; De Marcos, Vivian, Paredes, Berchiche; Vesga, Sancet; Berenguer, Muniain, Nico Williams; Inaki Williams

Real Madrid vs Athletic Club

Key Stats

  • Athletic Club have lost each of their last six league games against Real Madrid.
  • The visitors’ last win in the league against Madrid came back in March 2015.
  • Real Madrid are the highest-scoring team in the league with 74 goals in 37 matches.
  • Los Blancos have the fourth-best defence in the league having conceded 35 goals.
  • Real Madrid have a strong record at home. They have picked up 43 points and have lost only once in their 18 matches.

Player to Watch

Karim Benzema

Embed from Getty Images

Karim Benzema could be playing his final game for Real Madrid against Athletic Club amid rumours of him joining a Saudi club. The French striker has been a great servant for Los Blancos and all eyes will be on him when he takes the field.

Benzema who won the Ballon d’Or last time out with an incredible season in front of goal might not have produced the same numbers but he has surely done his bit. The 35-year-old has 30 goals and six assists in the ongoing season, and he will look to add to it against the visitors.


Real Madrid 3-1 Athletic Club

Real Madrid will head into this encounter on the back of two consecutive wins in the league and will hope to end the season on a high with a win at home in the final fixture. Meanwhile, the visitors have lost their last two outings and they will look to bounce back against Real Madrid.

Athletic Club will have to win against Real Madrid to stand a chance to qualify for the UEFA Conference League. However, they might not have enough in their tank to overpower Los Blancos. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for the visitors.

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