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Real Madrid travel to Bilbao to face Athletic Club on Wednesday as they seek to extend their six-point lead at the top of La Liga.

Los Blancos’ recent flawless form ended on Sunday night when they were held in check by a goalless draw against struggling Cadiz, despite accumulating almost 3.0 in xG.

Their opponents in this one, meanwhile, took an impressive 3-2 victory over top-flight Real Betis last time around, and will be eager to keep the momentum going.

Here’s everything you need to know before the game …

When is the kick-off? Wednesday December 22, 8:30 p.m. (GMT)
Where is the match being played? San Mamés
TV channel / live broadcast? LaLigaTV (UK), ESPN + (US)
Strong points? La Liga YouTube channel
Arbitrator? Caesar Soto

Athletics are without an important player streak for this one due to a combination of Covid-19 and injuries.

Asier Villalibre, Dani Vivian, Peru Nolaskoain and Yuri Berchichie are all sidelined for fitness issues, while Inigo Martinez and Unai Simon are isolated.

Real have their own absences imposed by the coronavirus to manage. Marcelo, Marco Asensio, Rodrygo, Gareth Bale and Andriy Lunin still isolate themselves, as does midfielder talisman Luka Modric in what is the biggest blow of all.

Casemiro will also monitor from the stands until the suspension after being booked against Cadiz. Dani Carvajal is also uncertain due to an injury.

Read the scheduled Real Madrid lineup in 90 minutes here.

These two pillars of Spanish football have met more than 200 times before in all competitions. Unsurprisingly, Real have always enjoyed the advantage, scoring 104 wins against 62 for their opponents, while 36 matches have ended at zero.

Recent times have shown little evidence of tidal reversals either. Los Blancos are currently on a four-game winning streak against Athletic in La Liga and haven’t lost to Wednesday’s opponents in the league since January 2010. That said, the Basque side triumphed in the Spanish Super Cup in January.

In their last meeting on Matchday 9 this season, Real triumphed 1-0 thanks to a goal from Karim Benzema.

Los Blancos will be eager to get their season back on track after a disappointing draw against Cadiz, and we expect them to do just that.

On Sunday, Carlo Ancelotti’s team did not Actually playing so badly – they just couldn’t find the net. Although Athletic will make it difficult for them again, the likelihood of Los Blancos drawing two games in a row is extremely low.

Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Athletic Club

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