Real Madrid will take on Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final at the King Fahd Stadium in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Can they add to their trophy cabinet for our soccer picks?
Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid CF
Sunday, January 16, 2022 – 1:30 PM EST at King Fahd Stadium
An extra-time goal from Federico Valverde helped Real Madrid clinch a place in the Super Cup final. Los Blancos played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in regulation time with Barcelona in Wednesday’s semi-final showdown, but Valverde settled matters by finishing off an incisive break on 98 minutes.
Real Madrid deserved to win the game. It had less possession than Barca, but it was more direct and dangerous on the ball, and Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema were a constant menace throughout.
The following day, Athletic Bilbao took on reigning La Liga champion Atletico Madrid in the other semi-final. It was not quite as entertaining – games featuring Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid are often tight, tense affairs – but there was still plenty of drama.
Wunderkind striker João Félix put Atletico Madrid 1-0 upon 62 minutes, but Bilbao struck back through Yeray Álvarez. In the 82nd minute, Nico Williams – the teenage brother of striker Iñaki Williams – came off the bench to fire in the winner for the Basque side.
José María Giménez was sent off for Atletico in the dying stages of a fiery clash. Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid should be in similar physical shape for this game. Real Madrid had to play extra-time against Barcelona, but it has had an extra day to rest.
Real Madrid Owns the Head-To-Heads
Real Madrid has won its last five La Liga games against Athletic Bilbao. It won 2-1 when they met in Bilbao earlier this season, and it beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 home and away in the league last season.
It has not lost a La Liga game to Athletic Bilbao since 2015. Since then, it has had 10 wins and four draws from its 14 clashes. However, it is worth noting that Athletic Bilbao beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup last year.
That game took place at a neutral venue in Malaga, which should give Athletic Bilbao some hope ahead of Sunday’s clash in Saudi Arabia, but Real Madrid will be keen to gain revenge. Los Blancos suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Getafe on January 2, proving that they are fallible, but that represents their only loss in 19 games in all competitions.
Athletic Bilbao is missing midfielder Unai Vencedor with a hamstring injury, but it has a pretty clean bill of health otherwise. Los Blancos welcomed right-back, Dani Carvajal, back for the game against Barcelona.
David Alaba and Gareth Bale are still missing, but Real Madrid is also mainly free of injury problems right now, so it should be well placed to win this game.
Two goals from Benzema put Athletic Bilbao to the sword in Bilbao earlier this season, and he is in terrific form right now. His partnership with Vini Junior is sensational, and a midfield of Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro should dominate this game.
Spanish Super Cup Pick: Real Madrid to win (-145) with DraftKings
Spanish Super Cup Pick: Real Madrid to win and under 4.5 goals (+100) with DraftKings
Spanish Super Cup Pick: Real Madrid to win and Karim Benzema to score (+120) with DraftKings