San Mames plays host to the Basque derby on Saturday, with Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad both desperate for the three points.
Athletic goalkeeper and Real Madrid target Kepa Arrizabalga on whether this is his last derby: “I don’t think so.
“I’m only thinking about winning the derby. We have a good opportunity to overtake [La Real in the table], turn our situation around, catch our breath and have a happy Christmas.”
La Real boss Eusebio Sacristan on his side being faced with an ‘opportunity’: “We’re going to focus on this game, the motivation we have and and what it means for the team and our fans to face Athletic, with the rivalry that exists.
“We know how important the game is, we’re conscious and we’ll see if we can take advantage of our motivation to compete at the level that this match demands, take the opportunity to give great happiness to our fans, pick up the three points we need and overcome Athletic.
“We have to think that, after a victory, everything will be very positive.”
Athletic Bilbao (probable): Kepa; Lekue, Nunez, Laporte, Balenziaga; San Jose, Mikel Rico; De Marcos, Raul Garcia, Susaeta; Aduriz
Injuries/suspensions: Muniain, Iturraspe, Yeray (I)
Real Sociedad (probable): Rulli; Odriozola, Diego Llorente, Inigo, De la Bella; Zubeldia; Prieto, Zurutuza, Illarramendi, Oyarzabal; Willian Jose
Injuries/suspensions: Kevin, Agirretxe (I)
Referee: Fernandez Borbalan
Form guide: Athletic – 1st (W D D D L) La Real – 10th (L L D D W)
Previous meeting: La Real 0-2 Athletic
Venue: San Mames
Kick-off time: 15:15 GMT/16:15 CET