Despite showing glimpses of brilliance in that early cup game against Barcelona and their recent Europa League win over Augsburg, Bilbao have arguably struggled in the early stages of the new campaign.
A 2 – 1 win for Real Madrid is the most likely outcome with William Hill and Bet365 both offering odds of 7/1.
Los Meringues had been playing in form lately as they are undefeated in their last six games, including a friendly and a recent Champions League match versus Ukrainian club Shak Donetsk.
Follow this La Liga clash LIVE minute by minute on Wednesday, September 23rd, starting 19:00 GMT. Under Ernesto Valverde, Los Leones’ system is based upon a foundation of intensity, pressing and the use of a high defensive line, meaning Wednesday’s hosts will undoubtedly look to inflict the same sort of headaches.
The last fixture between the two clubs saw Athletic beat Madrid 1-0 at home last season, but Bilbao have not won consecutive games against Real in La Liga since 2005.
‘I talk to Bale in English and he understands what is needed to be competitive.
Rafael Benitez, who has indicated that only Cristiano Ronaldo is guaranteed to start against Bilbao, will certainly be without Sergio Ramos who is nursing a shoulder injury.
Madrid, however, have been historically successful in their trip to the Basque region having chalked up three victories in the last five visits.
In total of 223 matches played between the two sides, Real Madrid hold the edge with 109 victories, while Athletic have 74.
It was Athletic Bilbao’s old San Mames that was considered Spanish football’s “La Catedral”, a famous ground notorious for its charged atmosphere and the challenge it presented its guests. He also landed a red card there a few seasons back.
The former Manchester United winger has already scored eight goals this season and will be looking to add to that tally on Wednesday.
However, with Karim Benzema and co. coming to the Basque country, Laporte will have to bring out his A-game again.
This team is going to ask questions of Madrid that no team has yet to ask. Cristiano Ronaldo will be back scoring while Benzema continues to be consistent. They can score at any moment.