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Champions League: Atalanta can be a real threat in Madrid

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The Champions League returns this week with four teams hoping to book their place in the quarter-finals of this season’s competition.

Paris Saint Germain after edging out Barcelona are through to the next stage, so are  Borussia Dortmund who defeated Sevilla, Porto who went past Juventus and Liverpool who were too strong for RB Leipzig in two legs.

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Manchester City and Bayern look like the most likely sides to join the already qualified quartet, but Real Madrid, Atalanta, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid will have to battle it out for the final two spots.

In here, we preview the big game involving Real Madrid and Atalanta.

Round of 16 second legs

Tuesday 16 March
Manchester City vs Mönchengladbach

Real Madrid vs Atalanta

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Atalanta can be a real threat in Madrid

Atalanta will definitely not be in despair when they visit Spain’s capital, in what is sure to be an intriguing match up.

Not only were they unlucky in their first leg but they have a good record away from home this season to be considered as a real threat against Real Madrid.

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Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were short handed for majority of the game after Remo Freuler was sent off after just 17 minute in the first leg.

But they will come out strongly especially in the early part of the game to get the goal that will put them level on aggregate.

Atalanta will take confidence from the fact that they have not lost an away game in the Champions League this season, having won three of their group stage away ties.

They defeated Midtjylland 0-4 in their first away game before following it up with wins away from home against Liverpool (0-2) and Ajax (0-1).

Interestingly, they did not concede in all three fixtures and would want to maintain that in Madrid.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, will not look too much into the haunting past, which has seen them eliminated in the same round for the past two seasons.

They were knocked out by Ajax in the 2018/2019 season before being eliminated by Manchester City in the following season.

Zinedine Zidane’s men will thus go all out to avoid a repeat of the unpleasant history.

The most dominant team in Champions League history have been boosted by the return of captain Sergio Ramos although they will have to be without Eden Hazard who has reportedly sustained another injury

Key stats

  • Real Madrid have progressed from eight of their last nine Champions League knockout ties when they have won the first leg away from home. However, the one time they were eliminated in this run came at this exact stage in 2019 when they were beaten 4-1 by Ajax.
  • In fact, Real Madrid are winless in their last four home games in the knockout stages of the Champions League, including defeats in each of the last two. They have never previously lost three consecutive home games in the knockouts of the European Cup or Champions League.
  • Atalanta are on the longest current run of away victories of any team in the Champions League, having won each of their last five. They have scored 14 goals across these five games, while keeping four clean sheets in the process.

 

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