RB Leipzig’s remarkable Champions League campaign will be put to test on Thursday night against Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals.
The second fixture of the Champions League quarter-finals will see RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid lock horns in their first-ever competitive encounter.
Both sides already have two things in common in having knocked out English opposition in the previous round and doing so back in March. Atletico eliminated holders Liverpool 4-2 on aggregate in their tie. Leipzig, on the other hand, cruised to an impressive 4-0 aggregate victory against Tottenham.
For one of them, though, the dream ends in Lisbon on Thursday, while the other will meet Atalanta or Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-finals.
RB Leipzig Form & Team News
Thursday’s game in Lisbon will be one of many firsts for Leipzig as it’s their first time in quarter-finals, meeting Atletico Madrid, or facing any Spanish club in the competition for that matter.
Julian Nagelsmann has done a spectacular job in his first season by leading the club to a solid third-place finish in the Bundesliga. They even finished in the top-three for the best offensive (81 goals) and defensive (37 goals) records.
But while Leipzig have the talent to progress to the semi-finals, their lackluster form since the Bundesliga restart could prove costly. In fact, they won just four of their league nine games. It saw them plummet from being Bayern Munich’s nearest challengers to a distant third.
The Red Bulls have also only played one game in a 1-1 friendly draw with Wolfsburg last month since the Bundesliga ended on June 27.
Timo Werner’s departure for Chelsea was a tremendous loss for Leipzig. He was their most dangerous attacker, scoring 34 goals in all competitions this term. It couldn’t have come at a worse moment either; considering Atletico boast one of Europe’s strongest defenses.
Yussuf Poulsen, meanwhile, returned to training last month following an ankle injury. He should be available to partner Patrik Schick upfront in Werner’s place. Although Ibrahima Konate is doubtful. While new signing Hwang Hee-Chan is ineligible.
Atletico Madrid Form & Team News
Diego Simeone is desperate to win the one trophy that’s eluded him for so long in the Champions League. He’s reached the final twice, only to lose to Real Madrid on both occasions. It’s also the fifth time in seven seasons that Atletico have qualified for the quarter-finals.
The one-legged nature of the new competition should even suit Cholo’s ultra-defensive style of football. That, coupled with the Colchoneros’ experience in the knockouts, makes them a serious threat.
Atletico are also undefeated in their last 18 games (W11 D7) in all competitions, dating back to February 1 against Real Madrid. This helped them secure a top-three finish in La Liga. While that never-say-die attitude and ability to find victory, even in unusual circumstances, should put them in a good steed.
Terrible news from Spain on Monday revealed Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko tested positive for coronavirus. Thankfully, the pair are fine and there have been no further cases.
Not only are Atletico arguably a stronger squad, but their experience in the Champions League knockout stages gives them an edge. Therefore, bookmakers expect Simeone’s men to come out on top.
Unibet has offered odds of 2.32 for the Spanish side to progress to the semi-finals. A draw is priced at 3.15. But if you fancy Leipzig nicking this one, they’re available at 3.45 at the time of writing.
It’s also worth pointing out Atletico boast one of Europe’s best defenses, with just 27 goals conceded in 38 LaLiga games. They’ve only seen the ball go into the back of their net seven times in eight Champions League outings this season.
There have also been under 2.5 goals in three of Leipzig’s last five games and four in Atletico’s. Hence, betting for this one has potential.
First Team To Score – Atletico Madrid
The Rojiblancos are no pushovers, as they proved against Liverpool and countless other teams. They’ll likely stay disciplined and capitalize of any limited opportunities.
Betfred, Boylesports, and Gentingbet are offering odds of 10/11 on Oddscheker at the time of writing.