Atletico aim to overturn battling Bayer’s narrow lead
Last season’s Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid will have to overcome a slender one-goal deficit to progress into this year’s quarter-finals, following a 1-0 first leg defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.
Diego Simeone’s Spanish champions, even-money with Coral to qualify, host their recent German conquerors at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, hoping to secure a courageous comeback as they aim to go one step further than last year in this season’s competition.
The hosts, odds-on at 8/13 to win, are on a relatively poor run of form, having failed to secure a victory in their previous four outings, drawing their last three domestic league games.
Although, their home form will provide a welcomed boost, after losing just one of their last nine matches in the Spanish capital. Atleti are available at 10/3 to win the game and both teams to score.
However, Leverkusen will prove to be tough opposition yet again, and they are in fine form this term, climbing to fourth in the Bundesliga and securing victory in their previous five consecutive games in all competitions.
Roger Schmidt’s gallant German outfit, 9/2 to triumph, prepared for their second leg encounter by thrashing rock-bottom league strugglers Stuttgart 4-0, a result which moved them three points ahead of fellow European hopefuls Schalke in a final Champions League place.
Josip Drmic struck a delightful domestic double in that latest victory, bringing his season tally to six goals. The Swiss attacker is 10/3 to net again in 90 minutes, having looked threatening in the first leg clash.
Turkish attacking delight Hakan Calhanoglu fired in the winner at the BayArena, giving his side a narrow advantage, and he is a 14/1 chance to open proceedings again this time out.
Antoine Griezmann will again be Atletico’s key attacking danger, having struck 17 times in all competitions already this current campaign. The in-form Frenchman is 5/1 to score last in this latest outing and continue his rampant run in front of goal.
Simeone’s home side have never beaten their German opponents in 90 minutes, drawing twice in 2010, and suffering a disappointing defeat in their previous meeting.
However, with a second consecutive league crown looking increasingly unlikely, this will be their only chance for silverware success this term, and Simeone will have his players in a determined mood.
Atleti are 4/1 to win both halves of their European encounter, with at least two goals required to seal progression.