The Champions League returns on Tuesday night with one of the ties most finely poised set to be concluded.
Real Madrid will host Italian side Atalanta, holding an away goal and a 1-0 lead from the first leg which came after the Serie A outfit were reduced to 10 men. Ferland Mendy netted the potentially crucial goal, though as one of the most free-scoring sides in their domestic league, Atalanta will surely fancy their chances of mounting a comeback.
It is Atalanta who have played more games – and earned more wins – since that first leg, with Real drawing two of their three in LaLiga before a last-minute weekend win over Elche. Both teams will be missing key midfield men through suspension, but it may suit the Spanish side to play on the counter-attack given the speed available to them and the passing qualities from deep that the likes of Toni Kroos can provide.
To reach this stage, Atalanta came second in their group behind Liverpool, while Real came top ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach, Shakhtar and Inter Milan.
Coincidentally, it’s Inter who are the only team to beat Atalanta since the first leg, with this fixture arguably the second leg which is most open and with both teams harbouring genuine hopes of progression.
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Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game.
When is the match?
The game kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday, 16 March.
Where can I watch it?
All Champions League matches are shown live by BT Sport. This game will be on BT Sport 3, while subscribers can stream the match via the BT Sport app and desktop website.
What is the team news?
Real Madrid have once more seen Eden Hazard suffer yet another injury, with the Belgian having managed just 15 minutes on the pitch in his latest comeback. Striker Mariano and right-back Dani Carvajal are both out too, while midfielder Casemiro is suspended after his booking in the first leg.
Sergio Ramos has returned from injury recently and Federico Valverde is likely to stay in the side in place of Casemiro.
Atalanta are without wing-back Hans Hateboer and defender Berat Djimsiti. Remo Freuler was sent-off in the first leg, so is suspended here.
RMA: Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
ATA: Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Palomino; Maehle, De Roon, Pessina, Pasalic, Gosens; Ilicic, Zapata
Real Madrid – 13/11
Draw – 29/10
Atalanta – 5/2
The Italian side will push all the way, but Real might just have enough creative class to fashion the chances on the break to hold Atalanta at bay. Real Madrid 2-2 Atalanta (3-2 agg).