Rafa Benítez has decided to improve his midfield by starting Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. Real Madrid's passing and attacking system should benefit from this and other players like Casemiro, Cheryshev, Vázquez and Jesé stay on the bench as potential game changers.
Real Madrid Starting XI: Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Kovacic, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Athletic Bilbao Starting XI: Iraizoz, De Marcos, Balenziaga, Etxeita, Laporte, San José, Beñat, Raúl García, Susaeta, Aduriz and S. Merino.
This will be a tough game for Real Madrid. Athletic Bilbao will play with intensity and Real's midfielder must keep their composure to keep the possession and create good scoring chances. Furthermore, Los Blancos will lack the size needed to stop Athletic's aerial play, so it will be very important to defend the set pieces properly.
Real Madrid must earn the three points tonight against a difficult Athletic Bilbao side.