Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid once again come head to head as the two teams fight for a spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Still reeling from their last-minute defeat in the Champions League finals last year, Diego Simeone’s men seem to be on a mission when it comes to the Madrid derby and it will be exciting to see if they can leave their richer cousins from Madrid in the shadows in the second leg of the quarter-final tie.
Team News & Tactics
Facing a series of crucial injuries, Real Madrid might end up regretting their missed chances in the first leg of the Champions League tie. Dominating the proceedings at Vicente Calderon last week, Real Madrid failed to put the ball into the net and now host Atletico Madrid with the likes of Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale injured while Marcelo remains suspended for the tie. It will be interesting to see how Carlo Ancleotti’s men shape up for this tie.
With Gareth Bale and Luka Modric injured, James Rodriguez and Isco are expected to start for the Los Blancos alongside Toni Kroos and Illarramendi though new signing Lucas Silva could get a call up for the derby. Karim Benzema will not be available for Real Madrid which means that only Cristiano Ronaldo will represent the much-feared trio of Bale-Benzema-Cristiano who is likely to be accompanied with Chicharito leading the attack. Though Real Madrid will miss the services of Bale and Benzema, it is perhaps Luka Modric who will be most missed by the team as the Croatian midfielder has the ability to make the squad tick, as demonstrated by his absence earlier this year which left the club reeling.
In order to hold Atletico Madrid’s ferocious attacking line-up, Real Madrid are likely to replace Marcelo with Coentrao with Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Carvajal taking their usual position in the starting eleven.
Probable Starting Eleven: Casillas (GK); Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal, Coentrao; Kroos, Illarramendi, Isco, Rodriguez, Ronaldo; Chicharito
With Real Madrid succumbing to a series of injuries, the odds are on Atletico Madrid to cause a major upset in the Champions League. Having bossed over Real Madrid this season, Atletico Madrid will be keen on winning another Madrid derby in the hope of progressing to the semi-finals of the Champions League this year.
Finishing the first leg on a goalless draw, Atletico Madrid hold a significant advantage in the tie as they have not allowed Real Madrid to score an away goal and hence a single goal in the second leg could be enough to see Atletico Madrid through. Diego Simeone’s men are expected to line-up as they did in the reverse fixture and will be looking to sit back and soak in the pressure from Real Madrid while looking to attack them with sharp counter-attacks.
Atletico Madrid will be led by Antoine Griezmann in the attack as the Frenchman has been scintillating form this season. Mario Mandzukic is expected to start alongside him and the Croatian striker will be looking to settle some issues with the Real Madrid defence after being left bloody in the previous tie. Mario Suarez will miss the fixture due to suspension and Tiago is expected to fill his role in the midfield alongside Gabi with Turan and Koke providing the team with ammunition from the flanks.
Probable Starting Eleven: Oblak (GK); Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Siqueira; Gabi, Tiago, Turan, Koke; Griezmann, Mandzukic
Player To Watch Out For
If there is one man who is sure to step up to the occasion, it is Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. In the absence of Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, the Portuguese international will be burdened with the responsibility to see Real Madrid home. Fast, athletic and blessed with a keen eye for the goal, Cristiano Ronaldo will be quite a handful for the likes of Godin and Miranda. Playing on the left flank, expect Cristiano Ronaldo to drift around the midfield and is likely to support Chicharito in his attacking role. With Champions League slowly turning into his favourite hunting ground, Ronaldo is the player to watch out for as Real Madrid host Atletico Madrid.
Expect another hard-fought victory for Diego Simeone’s men over Real Madrid. The Madrid derby will be a violent affair and Atletico Madrid will break Real’s rhythm with their aggressive style of football. One of the best defensive units in Europe currently, Real Madrid will struggle to break Atletico and will also face an uphill task of keeping the likes of Griezmann and Mandzukic at bay.
Blast From the Past