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Projected lineups: Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao, La Liga 2016

Kovacic starts.

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane confirmed during the pre-match press conference that Mateo Kovacic is set to start today's clash against Athletic Bilbao in Isco's spot. He did not say who will replace the injured Marcelo and Bale, but Danilo and James will most likely get a spot in the starting XI.

Real Madrid Projected XI: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Danilo, Kroos, Modric, Kovacic, James, Ronaldo, Benzema.

Athletic Bilbao projected XI: Iraizoz, Bóveda, Etxeita, Laporte, Balenziaga, Iturraspe, Beñat, De Marcos, Eraso, Sabin, Aduriz.

Real Madrid's defensive line will need to be very careful with Aduriz's ability to score. The Spanish striker is a threat when the ball is in the air and off set pieces, one of Real's recurrent weaknesses in recent years.

Ernesto Valverde will have Iker Muniain at his disposal during the second half if he wants to shake things up to change the course of the game.

Expect Real Madrid to come out with a win if they play with composure and focus.

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