Atletico Madrid look to keep up a good start to the UEFA Champions League group stage when they take on Bayer Leverkusen, pointless, on match day three on Tuesday.
Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Key Stat: Atletico Madrid have gone unbeaten in each of their last 11 home UEFA matches.
Expert Verdict: Seeing how different the form of the two sides have been this season, you have to really like Atletico's chances here. They are far from a perfect side, but they are just extremely tough to break down and defeat, particularly at home. They have started this competition well, and it would be a major shock to see them fall against the Germans in this outing. Bayer Leverkusen just don't seem to measure up all that well, leading to a win for Simeone's men.
Diego Simeone will be missing right back Sime Vrsaljko, center back Stefan Savic, winger Vitolo, and striker Joao Felix for this match due to various injury woes.
With Joao Felix out, Atleti are going to be looking for a spark to get them some goals, and that could come from none other than Thomas Lemar. The French winger has not always been at his best for the Spaniards, but he’s certainly got bags of talent and can step in with a fine performance. In goal, they can always count on Jan Oblak to save them when they are not at their best. The Slovakian has made so many huge saves that he shouldn’t have made that it’s hard to comprehend. He’s the true spine of this side, and without him, it’s hard to imagine where they would be.
Atletico have three draws and two wins in their last five matches:
1-1 home draw vs Valencia
0-0 draw at Real Valladolid
0-2 win at Lokomotiv Moscow (UCL)
0-0 home draw vs Real Madrid
0-2 win at Mallorca
Defenders:Trippier, Gimenez, Felipe, Lodi
Midfielders:Lemar, Partey, Koke, Saul
Forwards:Morata, Diego Costa
Peter Bosz has injuries that will keep left winger Leon Bailey and left back Daley Sinkgraven out of this match. He does, however, have a bit of good news as midfielder Charles Aranguiz looks like he is set to feature.
Goals have not been easy to come by for Bayer so far this season, especially in the Champions League, so they will hope to get off the mark here with their star man, Kai Havertz. The German is one of the biggest hopes of the future for his nation, and he’ll look to showcase those skills here against a stubborn Atleti. If he can’t get it done, then Kevin Volland is a good option, too. He’s scored four times for them in the Bundesliga so far and also has two assists, showing a willingness to change the game through various means.
Bayer Leverkusen have two losses, a draw, and two wins in their last five matches:
3-0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt
1-1 home draw vs RB Leipzig
3-0 loss at Juventus (UCL)
0-3 win at Augsburg
2-0 home win vs Union Berlin
Defenders:Bellarabi, Tah, Sven Bender, Wendell
Defensive Midfielders:Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz
Attacking Midfielders:Havertz, Demirbay, Volland
These two sides have faced off six times before, and thus far it’s Atletico that lead the way with two wins and three draws against Bayer Leverkusen.
Here's a look at the last five results:
Mar 15, 2017: Atletico 0-0 Bayer
Feb 21, 2017: Bayer 2-4 Atletico
Mar 17, 2015: Atletico 1-0 (P) Bayer
Feb 25, 2015: Bayer 1-0 Atletico
Dec 16, 2010: Bayer 1-1 Atletico (UEL)
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Atletico are at 8/13, a draw is at 13/5, and Bayer Leverkusen is at 5/1.
Group D currently sees Atletico Madrid sitting atop the table through two match days on four points. Juventus have the same number of points, but Atleti currently have them on a tiebreaker. Lokomotiv Moscow have three points thus far, while Bayer Leverkusen are still looking to get their first point of the campaign. If they don’t get anything here, it’s very, very unlikely they will be able to progress.
Atletico come into this match in fourth place in Spain’s La Liga at the moment. They had started their season so well, but they have come undone of late to win just once in five outings. They have only four wins in nine total matches in the division, though they have just lost once. Goals have been ridiculously hard to come for them, so that’s been an issue. At home in all competitions, they have four draws and two wins so far. Hardly the most impressive, bu not the worst, either.
Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, have not enjoyed the kind of start they would have liked in the German Bundesliga so far. They have not been awful, but they have also been far from great. They sit in ninth place on 14 points from eight matches, but despite how it sounds, they are only two points from the top due to how open the league has been so far. They are still in the title hunt despite winning just half of their matches, incredibly. Away from home, they have three wins and three losses.
Betfair have no for both sides scoring at 1.8.
Ladbrokes have Atleti scoring first at ½.
Atletico so often get their way of things when they are at home, and there is little to think that won’t happen here, barring an unlikely turn of events. Atleti take it home with a strong and composed showing.