Premier League

Real Madrid predicted lineup vs Athletic Club

Toni Kroos, Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid may be casting one nervous eye over their shoulders heading into the final weeks of this La Liga campaign.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side held what looked an unassailable lead for some time, but they are somehow only five points clear of under-performers Barcelona at present. However, they do have a game in hand, which comes against Athletic Club on Sunday evening.

A victory at the Santiago Bernabeu would lift them eight points clear with eight games to play, but former Barca boss Ernesto Valverde will be aiming to do his old club a favour this weekend as his fourth-placed Athletic Club side look to upset the odds.

With several injuries and suspensions to deal with, here is how Real Madrid could line up for a big clash in La Liga.

Toni Kroos, Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid have some absentees to deal with / Diego Souto/GettyImages

GK: Andriy Lunin – With Thibaut Courtois having suffered another injury setback, Lunin may see out the season in the Madrid goal. His form has been mightily impressive given his relative lack of experience before this campaign, and he could be busy this Sunday.

RB: Dani Carvajal – The Spaniard netted in his most recent Madrid outing before the international break and is the club’s obvious first choice with limited options at right-back.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – The German has been imperious in a white jersey this season and has been a rock at the back for the La Liga leaders amid a defensive injury crisis.

CB: Nacho – With Eder Militao nearing a return after being sidelined since the opening day of the season, Nacho will be expected to drop down to the bench in the coming weeks. However, he remains a reliable deputy for Madrid.

LB: Ferland Mendy – The Frenchman, much like his fellow full-back Carvajal, has very little competition for his place, although he will have to maintain a high standard from now until the end of the season amid Madrid’s links with Alphonso Davies.

CM: Toni Kroos – The German came out of international retirement to feature for his country during March and he excelled during games against France and the Netherlands. There remain few players in world football who can dictate a game like Kroos.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – The defensive midfielder came up against Kroos during the international break but will be relieved to be on the same team as him this Sunday. The Frenchman offers Madrid’s midfield important balance.

CM: Federico Valverde – Such a consistent performer for Madrid, Valverde will be the most advanced member of the midfield…

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