Eduardo Camavinga and Eden Hazard will return when Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao face off at San Mames on Wednesday.

Real Madrid will aim to keep a stronghold on the top spot in La Liga when they take on Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Wednesday night. While San Mames is always a tough place to play at, Carlo Ancelotti has found prolonged success at the venue, with Real Madrid unbeaten against Los Leones since March 2015.

A coronavirus outbreak has hit Ancelotti’s squad, with David Alaba the latest player to be ruled out. The Austrian international joins eight other players in the list of absentees. Isco and Luka Modric may not have tested positive for the virus, but the duo will be kept out as a precaution after showing a few symptoms.

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Casemiro, who features among those affected by COVID-19, is also suspended for the clash. Eduardo Camavinga could replace the Brazilian midfielder in the team, although it would be Federico Valverde who will likely occupy the position at the base of the midfield unit. Toni Kroos is expected to complete the numbers in the middle of the park.

During his pre-game conference, Ancelotti confirmed the changes in midfield. He said, “We’ve got Casemiro and Modrić out; it’s a chance for players like Camavinga, who hasn’t played much this recent period. We’re considering him for today and for the future, like Valverde. It could be a big opportunity for these players tomorrow.

The news of Alaba’s absence leaves Ancelotti with only two recognised central defenders in Eder Militao and Nacho, with the duo expected to pair up at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. On the right flank, Dani Carvajal is unavailable due to a fitness concern, which allows Lucas Vazquez to take his spot in the lineup. Ferland Mendy will occupy the left-back slot.

In the attacking unit, Rodrygo Goes is missing after testing positive for COVID-19, Ancelotti will rely on Eden Hazard, who is expected to start on the right side of the Real Madrid attack, with Karim Benzema leading the line against Athletic Bilbao. On the left flank, the in-form Vinicius Junior is a certainty, and he will hope to add to his impressive tally versus Bilbao.

Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Kroos, Valverde, Camavinga; Hazard, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.

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