Zinedine Zidane has no fresh injury concerns to deal with as Real Madrid prepare to welcome Athletic Bilbao to Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Real Madrid’s charge for second place on the La Liga table is well underway. following their 2-1 win over Malaga last weekend. Up next for Zinedine Zidane’s men, are Athletic Bilbao, who have endured a difficult season so far, but will look to spring a surprise when they visit the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The Real Madrid boss has very few problems hampering his preparation for the visit of Los Leones, with Nacho the only player on the treatment table. The Spaniard is recovering from a thigh injury, and will only be available in the final weeks of the campaign.
In his absence, Zidane has enough cover at his disposal, with Jesus Vallejo, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos his three central defensive options. On Wednesday, the manager is likely to deploy Varane and Ramos at the heat of the Real Madrid defence, with Dani Carvajal and Marcelo being the full-backs.
Other than Varane and Marcelo, Zidane is expected to recall a host of first-choice players with Real Madrid having a break from league football this weekend. The Real Madrid boss appeared to be relieved over having one week to prepare for the game against Bayern Munich next week, iterating the same in his pre-match press conference.
“We’ve had periods this season where we’ve played a lot. The fixture list has fallen so that we don’t play this weekend but it’s good as it’ll help us prepare for the Bayern match. It’s nice to have a week to prepare now and again.”
Zidane’s words reaffirm that he will name a strong side on Wednesday, meaning Luka Modric and Toni Kroos should return to the side, forming a strong midfield trio alongside Casemiro. Isco should again be handed a free role as he continues his late season resurgence.
Upfront, Karim Benzema is likely to drop to the bench after another below-par showing last weekend. Instead, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are expected to be recalled after being rested against Malaga, with the French striker being an option from the bench alongside Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.