CONFIRMED lineups: Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid, 2017 La Liga

Gareth Bale returns for Real Madrid trip to Athletic Bilbao but Pepe and Raphael Varane remain out

Real Madrid, who still have one game in hand, are now two points ahead of Barcelona at the top of La Liga table but will be looking to open tha gap on Saturday, as the Catalans won't play their corresponding fixture with Valencia until Sunday.

Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro fired Madrid to their third straight League win, although Zidane's decision to bring off Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric as part of a switch to a 4-4-2 formation at San Mames made for a tricky ending. We advise that all users switch to using the new Disqus comment system as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition. I think the only game they lost at home was against Barcelona.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane will have to decide whether he continues with Navas, who was later at fault for Betis' goal in that game, or bring Kiko Casilla into his starting 11.

However, Real Madrid were pegged back in the second half when Aritz Aduriz headed home following a set up from Raul Garcia.

Real swept into the lead after 24 minutes.


The referee then had to deal with a flashpoint as Garcia and Sergio Ramos squared up, with Athletic forward Aduriz and Carvajal also getting involved before calm was restored and a couple of cautions handed out.

Into the second-half and Bilbao pushed hard to try and find an equalising goal and they nearly got it when Inaki Williams' goal-bound effort was superbly saved by the right-hand of Navas.

But the equaliser came after 65 minutes.

Ronaldo also contributed to the victor soon after Athletic had clawed their way back into the game, glancing Toni Kroos's corner to the back post where Casemiro was waiting to seal Real's fourth straight win in all competitions.

Marcelo hacked over from close range and Navas blocked Williams' angled effort as Real closed out victory to remain in control at the top of LaLiga. We're going to suffer, but we're working hard, we're confident, we've got good character, we need to put all these ingredients together to win. Athletic are a side who fight until the end and they caused us problems. We know it will be one of the most demanding games that we have left.

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