Monday, May 29, 2017

Prediction: Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen

Verdict: Atletico Madrid

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

Atletico Madrid find themselves in strong position to reach the Champions League quarterfinals as they head into the Vicente Calderon clash against Bundesliga oiutfit Bayer Leverkusen with tangible advantage.

Atletico Madrid

Last season’s Champions League finalists have made an important step towards securing their place in the next stage of Europe’s elite club competition with the compelling 4-2 win in Germany three weeks ago. A late goal by Fernando Torres made sure Atletico Madrid go home with more than what they bargained for as they look to go further than last season and possibly try to win the Champions League to save their season entirely. A disappointing 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Barcelona followed the first leg in Germany, whereas the 1-1 draw at Deportivo La Coruna only made things worse in the La Liga run. Los Rojiblancos are losing pace in the title run as they trail ten points behind leaders Real Madrid in fourth place and although they managed to bounce back from the mini-slump with back-to-back wins over Valencia and Granada, things have been rather disappointing on the home front thus far and the Champions League remains Atletico’s biggest chance. Diego Simeone’s men will thus leave nothing to chance as they seek for a win that will be a morale-boost in the crucial moment of the season.

Team News

Bernabe Barragan and Augusto Fernandez are ruled out with shoulder and knee injury, respectively, but Diego Simeone will have a couple of more selection issues for the forthcoming clash.

Gabi looks set to miss the game due to a broken hand, while Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres could leave Simeone short of options upfront as in-form Griezmann remains the only one available in attack.

Bayer Leverkusen

Last two months have been rather disappointing for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen who have won only two of their last eight games across all competitions. Sitting 10th in the Bundesliga, bayer Leverkusen continue to struggle and the 6-2 defeat at Dortmund since the defeat in the first leg by the hands of Atletico Madrid speaks volumes of their current form. Tayfun Korkut’s men have conceded 13 goals in last four matches, including the first leg against Atletico Madrid and they will have little to hope for on their trip to Vicente Kalderon. The current situation comes as huge contrast to Leverkusen’s away record from the first part of the season when Bundesliga outfit were unbeaten in group stages on travels. Leverkusen managed to draw at Monaco and CSKA, as well as to beat Tottenham in London, but their poor form will offer little optimism ahead of their trim to impregnable Atletico Madrid. The visitors will hope their key man Javier Hernandez Chicharito will rediscover his goal scoring form as he went goalless over the last four matches, after scoring five in just three appearances prior to the Champions League first leg against Los Rojiblancos.

Team News

Suspended Hakan Calhanoglu is the only unavailable player for the visiting team.

There are still some doubts over the fitness of Lars Bender, Jonathan Tah and Danny da Costa, who are struggling with respective injuries.

Key Factors to consider

  • Atletico Madrid lost only 2 of their last 15 matches in all competitions
  • Los Rojiblancos failed to keep a clean sheet in 6 of their last 8 games
  • Leverkusen conceded 13 goals in last four matches
  • Bundesliga outfit won only 3 of their last 10 away games
  • Antoine Griezmann has scored 6 goals in his last 7 appearances

Conclusion

Atletico Madrid are the firm favoruites to emerge victorious from the return leg against Bayer Leverkusen. Diego Simeone’s men are carrying a big lead but they will leave nothing to chance as they want to make sure they got closer to repeating and upgrading to their Champions League record. Given the fact this might be Simeone’s last season at Atletico Madrid, he wants the grand prize.

Verdict: Atletico Madrid

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

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