Atletico Madrid’s survival in the Champions League is on the line as Bayer Leverkusen arrive at the Metropolitano Stadium for a crunch Group B encounter.
With just one knock-out spot left to play for in this group after Club Brugge defied every expectation to claim their first-ever appearance in the round of 16, Los Rojiblancos can ill-afford another slip-up.
Despite falling a man down, the Belgian champions held Atletico to a goalless draw in Madrid last time out to seal their progression in the knock-out stages with two games to spare.
Meanwhile, the pressure is mounting on Diego Simeone after his men went winless in three consecutive Champions League outings (D1, L2) since a dramatic 2-1 home triumph over Porto on day one.
Simeone’s lads now have to play catch-up on the Portuguese heavyweights as they trail them by two points ahead of a gripping Group E finale.
Visiting Leverkusen may be nailed to the bottom of the standings after losing three of their four Champions League matches this season (W1), yet they remain in contention for progression.
Led by former Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, Die Werkself are aware that anything other than a victory in Spain would inflict a fatal blow on their bid to reach the knock-outs for the first time since 2016/17.
The Germans will bank on Atletico’s woeful run of three consecutive scoring blanks in the Champions League as they look the replicate the performance that fired them to a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture.
Atletico pulled off a 2-1 victory away to fellow La Liga rivals Real Betis at the weekend, extending an unbeaten streak in all competitions to five games (W3, D2).
But they’ll need to translate their scoring La Liga form to the Champions League if they’re to avoid going four straight matches without a goal in the competition for the first time under Simeone.
Luckily for the Argentine boss, Los Colchoneros have seemingly had German clubs’ number of late, stringing together an 11-game unbeaten Champions League run when hosting Bundesliga visitors (W8, D3).
Since navigating Leverkusen to an overwhelming 4-0 home win over Schalke on his touchline debut, Alonso has won none of his three remaining competitive fixtures in charge of Die Werkself (D1, L2).
Alonso’s side shared the spoils with bitter Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg in a topsy-turvy 2-2 home draw at the weekend, meaning they’ve conceded 2+ goals in three consecutive outings.
Leverkusen are unlikely to travel in a confident mood, especially after succumbing to an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on their most recent road trip.
Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen Potential Line-ups
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Jan Oblak; Reinildo Mandava, Stefan Savic, Jose Maria Gimenez, Nahuel Molina; Yannick Carrasco, Jeoffrey Kondogbia, Axel Witsel, Angel Correa; Alvaro Morata, Antoinne Griezmann.
Bayer Leverkusen (5-2-3): Lucas Hradecky; Mitchel Bakker, Piero Hincapie, Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba, Jeremie Frimpong; Robert Andrich, Kerem Demirbay; Moussa Diaby, Patrik Schick, Callum Hudson-Odoi.
How to Watch?
Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen, alongside all other matches in Europe’s most prestigious club competition this season, is available to watch online via Champions League live streams.
And if you are interested in attending a future UCL game, see our Champions League tickets page for more information.
Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen Prediction
Neither side are expected to give too much away from the get-go, given what’s at stake.
However, should a stalemate drags on, the pressure will be on Atletico, which could open up spaces for Leverkusen to hurt their hosts on the counter.
With Simeone’s side underperforming for most of the season, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Germans do walk away from the Metropolitano Stadium with points.
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
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