Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao
Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao are set to trade tackles at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in their final 2022/23 La Liga fixture.
Leading up to Real Madrid’s final La Liga match against Athletic Bilbao this weekend, much of the focus has been on the potential off-pitch events once the transfer window opens, particularly regarding Karim Benzema’s future amid growing speculation of a move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad. However, there’s still one more task at hand for Real Madrid as they need to secure a victory or rely on city rivals Atletico Madrid dropping points against Villarreal to land a second-place finish following their come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over Sevilla last weekend. Despite winning three trophies this season, Carlo Ancelotti’s team may feel a tinge of disappointment about how the campaign has panned out, considering their significant gap behind Barcelona in the league and their exit from the Champions League semifinals against Manchester City. Nevertheless, the 35-time Spanish champions should be motivated to achieve their fifth consecutive home league victory before a busy summer of transfer activities.
Thanks to Madrid’s Copa del Rey triumph over Osasuna, Athletic still have a chance to qualify for Europe, although they are one of several teams vying for the seventh-place spot. They must achieve a better result than Osasuna and at least match Girona’s result, coincidentally facing each other this weekend. A victory would also prevent Rayo Vallecano and Mallorca from surpassing ‘Los Leones.’ However, securing three points will be a formidable task for Ernesto Valverde’s side, as they haven’t won a La Liga head-to-head encounter since March 2015 against Madrid (D4, L11). On top of that, their last victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in Spain’s top-flight dates back even further, ten years prior (D2, L15). These records highlight the challenge they face in ending their three-match winless streak in away league matches (D1, L2). What’s even more concerning, Athletic have only won once in their last seven games, regardless of the venue (D1, L5).