Athletic Bilbao's less that memorable season continues it's meandering course towards a conclusion with a visit from second place Real Madrid today. While Marcelo Bielsa's side were flirting with the relegation zone at one point, they've at least managed to stabilize things enough to look for getting a mulligan on the year and trying again in the fall.
A win over Madrid would be a nice prize though for Athletic Club and provide them a bit a boost down the stretch run of the season. However with several players suspended and Madrid having a nearly first choice group of players available for selection, things don't exactly look rosy for Athletic Club. Bielsa will have striker Ibaí Gomez back from a groin injury and Markel Susaeta returns after serving a one-match ban.
Madrid are also looking for three points that could potentially move them within 10 points of Barcelona at the top of the table. Of course they'll need some help from Real Zaragoza for that to happen. Gonzalo Higuaín had been in doubt for the match but he did travel with the team, though he'll likely begin the day on the bench with several other regular starters.
Athletic Bllbao injuries and suspensions
Out: Andoni Iraola (hamstring), Iñigo Pérez (hamstring), Carlos Gurpegui (suspended), Aymeric Laporte (suspended), Oscar de Marcos (suspended), Aritz Aduriz (suspended). In doubt: Fernando Amorebieta (thigh)
Real Madrid injuries and suspensions
Out: Michael Essien (knock), Kaka (knock), Mesut Ozil (knock).
Madrid left Essien, Kaka and Özil in Madrid for the trip after all three picked up minor knocks in their Champions League match against Galatasaray. None are expected to miss extended time. Atheltic Club are without Gurpegui, Laporte, de Marcos and Aduriz due to suspension while Andoni Iraola is out after injuring his hamstring last week.
Match Date/Time: 9 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao, Spain
TV: beIN Sport USA (U.S.), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.)