Tuesday 14th April 2015, Vicente Calderon, Live on ITV 1, Kick-off 7:45pm
In terms of pride and what’s at stake, this is arguably the tie of the round.
Atletico Madrid are all but out of contention in terms of retaining the La Liga title that they brilliantly won last season. Currently sitting 9 points off the leaders Barcelona, a gap which is going to be too much to turn around before the end of the season, Diego Simeone will know that the Champions League is now his team’s best chance of silverware this season.
The return to fitness of striker Mario Mandzukic could be key to Atletico Madrid, especially as they like to have a strong centre forward to lead the line. If fit to play, expect to see Antoine Griezmann playing around the Croatian, with Arda Turan and Koke providing support from midfield.
Real Madrid closed the gap at the top of La Liga this weekend, despite having struggled to just 4 wins from their previous 8 games. With James Rodriguez and Pepe returning to fitness at the right time, it’s only Gareth Bale who is doubtful for the match but the Welshman should be fit to start, meaning Real Madrid will be at full strength.
Real Madrid have failed to defeat Atletico in their previous six meetings and this will be cause for concern going in to this match. The last time Ancelotti’s team visited the Vicente Calderon, back in February, they were sent packing with a 4-0 defeat and it appears they are still to work out a way to defeat Atletico, especially at the Calderon. Furthermore, Real Madrid have failed to find the back of the net when playing away to Atletico in their last three visits and this is something that will have to change, if they want to retain their Champions League trophy.
Real Madrid have come back in to form in their last three La Liga outings but have remained unconvincing this season when up against an Atletico Madrid side, that seem to work and fight harder, than their more illustrious opponents.
Atletico Madrid to win by 2 goals at 17/2 with SkyBet