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Real Madrid will try to launch their new season with a win away at Athletic Club on Saturday but Carlo Ancelotti was handed a big headache on the eve of the new La Liga campaign. Thibaut Courtois will miss the trip to San Mames and much of the 2023-24 term after suffering a torn ACL in a training session on Thursday. Los Blancos came second in La Liga but 10 points behind champions and bitter rivals Barcelona although they did win the Copa del Rey for the first time in nine years. Athletic are solidly eighth in the table over the past few years and Ernesto Valverde will attempt to lift the Basque powerhouse towards Europe. Inigo Martinez has moved on while Nico and Inaki Williams are still in Bilbao as Real will start life without former talisman Karim Benzema. Jude Bellingham, Arda Guler and Fran Garcia have arrived while Joselu and Brahim Diaz have also added to Ancelotti's options.

Here's our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Saturday, August 12 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: San Mames -- Bilbao, Spain
  • TV: ABC | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
  • Odds: Athletic +240; Draw: +260; Real +105

Team news

Athletic: Valverde might opt for the same XI which started against Manchester United although Yeray Alvarez should start in defense if fit. Asier Villalibre and Gorka Guruzeta will compete for starting berths which should be occupied by Iker Muniain and Oihan Sancet as well as the Williams brothers.

Potential Athletic XI: Simon; De Marcos, Alvarez, Vivian, Lekue; Ruiz de Galarreta, Vesga; N Williams, Sancet, Muniain; I Williams.

Real: Courtois joins Guler, Ferland Mendy and Dani Ceballos is missing out through injury and Los Blancos are unlikely to be able to move for his replacement in time for this weekend. Ancelotti has favored a midfield diamond so far this preseason which could mean that Bellingham is pushed forward in the midfield for his La Liga debut. Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo should start while Aurelien Tchouameni is also expected to feature along with Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos should start with the substitutes while David Alaba could play at left back to bring Antonio Rudiger into central defense.

Potential Real XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Valverde, Tchouameni, Camavinga; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius.


This one could be tricky for Real but they have enough on paper to just about get the job done. The loss of Courtois will be a big blow, though, and suddenly weakens the back line in a way that the club were not prepared for as they chased Kylian Mbappe. Pick: Athletic 1, Real 2.