Atletico Madrid will look to push Juventus for the top spot in Group D when they host Bayer Leverkusen at the Wanda Metropolitano in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Diego Simeone’s side started their latest European campaign in a good way so far, winning one and drawing the other. While Juventus managed to prevent the Spanish side from picking up all 3 points in the opening game with a 2-2 draw, Atleti beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 in Russia to pick their first win.
Victories in those 2 games will place them well before taking on Juventus for the top spot battle, especially after getting knocked out by the same opposition in last season’s competition.
The loss of Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona has been dealt well so far, and Atleti find themselves 5th in La Liga, 3 points behind the Blaugrana. Now, the upcoming UCL game is first in the double-header with Leverkusen, with the second one in Germany in a couple of weeks time.
Coming to Bayer, the German side qualified for this season’s competition after finishing 4th in the 2018/19 Bundesliga season. However, Die Werkself were handed a tough draw with perennial heavyweights Juventus and Atletico while Lokomotiv Moscow posed geographical challenges.
Peter Bosz’s side lost the first game of the campaign to Lokomotiv 1-2 at home before losing 3-0 to Juventus in Turin. Thus, Bayer is yet to open its points tally and the upcoming game against Atleti does not look any easier either.
Despite reaching the knockouts in 7 of their last 8 campaign, things are looking difficult this time around unless Bosz’s men really step up their game.
In terms of team news, Simeone will miss the services of Joao Felix, who picked up an injury over the weekend. Stefan Savic and Vitolo are the other absentees with a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, for Leverkusen, Leon Bailey is back in training while Wendell will miss out after picking up a thigh injury on Friday. Jonathan Tah is expected to be fit for the game while Charles Aranguiz and Daley Sinkgraven are doubts.
Both teams met in the 2016/17 UCL season, with Bayer holding the home side to a 0-0 draw in Spain before losing 4-2 in Germany.
Team Form and Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen Prediction
In terms of recent form, neither of the teams are doing great. While Simeone’s side has lost just once this season, they picked up just one win in their last 6 league games. However, they have won 18 of their last 23 European games at home and will look to add another victory on Tuesday.
Coming to Leverkusen, they are yet to win a game in October and have won only 2 of their last 15 UCL games, a bad record.
To top it all off, Atleti are on a nine-game unbeaten run against German opposition and have lost just 3 out of their last 24 European games. Thus, the home side should pick up a comfortable win while keeping a clean sheet.
Atletico Madrid Predicted XI: Oblak; Trippier, Gimenez, Felipe, Lodi; Koke, Thomas, Saul, Lemar; Morata, Costa
Bayer Leverkusen Predicted XI: Hradecky; Weiser, Tah, S.Bender, L. Bender; Baumgartlinger, Demirbay; Bailey, Amiri, Havertz; Alario