Foot Predictions shows Wednesday’s Champions League clash between Atalanta BC and Real Madrid, including hunches, news about the teams and possible lineups.
A much anticipated confrontation in the last 16 of Champions League happens on Wednesday as Atalanta BC to receive Real Madrid to the Gewiss Stadium for the first leg.
Gian Piero GasperiniThe team’s team finished second in Group D and secured their place in the knockout stage, while Real Madrid ended up leading Group B after an unstable start to the game.
If this game had been played five years ago, Real Madrid would have had to keep their Italian counterparts on their way to another European title. However, Atalanta’s meteoric rise has made its fan base believe that a chance for continental glory is certainly in the cards.
La Dea’s inaugural Champions League campaign last season ended with a broken heart in the quarter-finals of the defeated Paris Saint-Germain, but Gasperini’s goalscorers have not diminished this season and have managed to qualify for second place in Group D – behind Liverpool, whom they defeated in a memorable way at Anfield – and above Ajax, the 2018-19 semi-finalist.
Atalanta has been rewarded for its efforts with one of the greatest ties in the club’s illustrious 113-year history, and the Bergamo-based team will host Real Madrid in Italy with a genuine belief that they can outperform the most successful team in the history of Champions League.
As far as domestic luck is concerned, Gasperini’s team is far from the two Milan clubs seeking the Serie A title, but warmed up for this game with an exciting 4-2 victory over Napoli, with Colombian compatriots Duvan Zapata and Luis muriel both adding to their already impressive scores for that season.
The first played in the La Dea group stage with three goals and two assists in six of his team’s matches, and Atalanta has scored at least three goals in nine of his last 11 home matches, so a devastated Real Madrid defense could have one tiring night at Gewiss Stadium.
Real Madrid’s perennial reign of dominance in the Champions League over the past decade quickly became a thing of the past when they lost to Shakhtar Donetsk in their first match of the tournament, and it was a game for anyone in Group B towards the final round. .
Yet, Zinedine zidaneThe men of the team showed their credentials with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach to put themselves first in a group where Inter Milan finished last, but the 13 times European champions are certainly vulnerable in this season.
Since their most recent Champions League victory in the 2017-18 season, Real Madrid have been eliminated at this stage for Ajax and Manchester City, respectively, and Zidane’s decimated team cannot afford to leave a sign of complacency if hinting if he goes home to Bergamo with an advantage in the first leg.
The La Liga champions have managed to win their last four wins in the domestic market – without conceding goals in the last three matches – and the victory against Real Valladolid over the weekend came from an unlikely source in Casemiro, who assured Real that they would take advantage of Atletico Madrid’s loss to Levante and reduce the gap in the lead to three points.
Wednesday’s battle represents the first confrontation between Atalanta and Real Madrid and, although visitors boast 13 Champions League titles compared to La Dea’s empty European cabinet, only a brave soul could support Zidane’s team for a comfortable victory in this confrontation.
Form of Atalanta BC Champions League: WDLWDW
Atalanta BC Form (all competitions): LDDWWW
Real Madrid Champions League form: LDWWLW
Real Madrid form (all competitions): WLWWWW
All news from the teams
The only confirmed absence of Atalanta due to injury in the minute is the right-back Hans Hateboer, and its vice Joakim Maehle ignored previous concerns about fitness and played 90 minutes against Napoli.
Two of Gasperini’s back three in Cristian Romero and Berat Djimsiti are walking the tightrope with two markings each, so Jose Luis Palomino is ready to be called if the hosting manager does not run the risk of neither player being banned for the second leg.
La Dea has a lot of talent in the midfield and Gasperini has a big decision to make when it comes to who will play after Zapata and Muriel, but Josip Ilicic could get the nod before Matteo Pessina.
In stark contrast, the Real Madrid infirmary is now full and the visitors received another blow before this game with Karim Benzema – the fifth top scorer in the Champions League – is not scored due to injury.
French joins us as Eden Hazard, Rodrygo, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Eder Militao, Daniel Carvajal and Federico Valverde in the treatment room, while Casemiro is a yellow card from suspension.
With only 12 senior players recognized in the squad for the trip to Italy, Zidane’s XI is chosen for the first leg.
Possible initial lineup of Atalanta BC:
Gollini; Toloi, Djimsiti, Palomino; Maehle, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Ilicic; Zapata, Muriel
Possible starting line-up for Real Madrid:
Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Diaz, Vinicius Jr
Probability: Atalanta BC 3-1 Real Madrid
A full-fledged Real Madrid would be able to make the first leg a truly tempting battle, but Los Blancos’s decimated defense will undoubtedly struggle to contain Atalanta’s growing contingent of attack. The hosts’ rearguard is by no means impenetrable, but Gasperini’s men will smell the blood and we hope they will march towards a historic triumph over their opponent before traveling to Madrid for the second leg next month.