Real Madrid looks to advance to the next round of the Copa del Rey as the club takes on Athletic Club at San Mames on Thursday.
This will be the fourth meeting between these two clubs this season with Real Madrid winning the previous three matches. The last outing was a 2-0 victory for Real Madrid capturing the Spanish Super Cup Final in Saudi Arabia.
Now the two clubs turn their attention to another Spanish cup tournament as Athletic look to get over the hump and finally defeat Los Blancos this season while on home ground.
Real Madrid suffers a huge blow as they will be without Karim Benzema, who is recovering from a hamstring injury sustained against Elche. Ferland Mendy and Mariano will likely miss due to injury as well. Marcelo is serving suspension after seeing a straight red against Elche in the last round.
Athletic will be without midfielder Unai Vencedor due to injury. There are no suspensions for Marcelino’s side.
Simon; de Marcos, Martinez, Alvarez, Yuri; Williams, Zarraga, Garcia, Munian; Sancet, Inaki
Courtois; Carvajal, Militão, Nacho, Alaba; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Vinicius, Jovic
With both Marcelo and Mendy absent, David Alaba will likely shift to the left back role as he has many times in the past while playing for Bayern Munich. Nacho will likely take the secondary center back spot alongside Eder Militão.
Luka Jovic is the most likely replacement for the injured Benzema. Vinicius and Casemiro just returned from international duty playing for Brazil last week, though manager Carlo Ancelotti could still give both of them the start.
Athletic Club—Real Madrid 1-3
This will be an interesting match as these two clubs just recently faced off against each other last month. Real Madrid has had Athletic’s number the last several meetings and are looking to continue that dominance in another cup tournament.
Both clubs have struggled to find consistency in their last handful of matches. Athletic are second only to Sevilla in goals allowed this season, however they are also the lowest scoring side in the top ten of LaLiga. Real Madrid knows how to put the ball in the net leading the league in goals and knows how to defeat Los Leones.
Even missing Benzema, Real Madrid has enough tools to get the job done and see through to the semi-final of the Copa del Rey. The players on the pitch need to be able to pick up the offensive slack left behind in the Frenchman’s absence.