Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid
Competition: UEFA Champions League
Date: 21 February 2017 - Kick-off Time: 19:45 GMT
Venue: BayArena, Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen team head into this first leg on the strength of back-to-back Bundesliga wins over Frankfurt (3-0) and away at Augsburg (3-1). Anyway, manager Roger Schmidt has been under pressure from recent sections of the Leverkusen support for a series of underwhelming performances which saw them drop to 9th spot in the Bundesliga standings. In UCL the German outfit made it through to the knockout stage without suffering a single defeat. They won two of their six games, drawing the other four, and finishing runner up to Monaco with Tottenham in third position.
Talented midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu will miss the match due to suspension while defenders Jonathan Tah and Joel Abu Hanna are both sidelined. That could see Aleksandar Dragovic feature alongside Omer Toprak at the heart of the defence with Benjamin Henrichs and Wendell as full backs. Lars Bender is a doubt while Stefan Kiessling and Chicharito Hernandez will spearhead the attack.
Atletico Madrid team go into the match in good form having extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to four games with a 4-1 rout of Sporting Gijon at the weekend with Kevin Gameiro scoring a hat-trick.  They are also unbeaten in their last seven games away from home, though four of those have been draws. In UCL, the Rojiblancos won five of their group games, losing their final match which was effectively a dead rubber. Their outstanding defense remained resolute throughout as they allowed just two goals in this competition, which was tied for the best defensive record in the stage.
Defender Juanfran, midfielders Tiago and Augusto Fernandez are out through injury while Diego Godin is available to play. First-choice goalkeeper Jan Oblak is back from his two-month absence following a shoulder surgery. Anyway, Miguel Angel Moya will start between the posts. Up front, Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann will lead the line, with the likes of Saul Niguez, Yannick Carrasco, Gabi and Koke favourites to start in midfield.

Probable lineups:
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno – Henrichs, Toprak, Dragovic, Wendell – Aranguiz, Kampl – Bellarabi, Brandt, Havertz – Chicharito.
Atletico Madrid: Moya – Vrsaljko, Savic, Gimenez, Filipe Luis – Gabi, Saul Niguez, Koke, Carrasco – Griezmann, Gameiro.

Bayer Leverkusen last 5 matches:
22/01/17 Leverkusen 3 – 1 Hertha BSC
28/01/17 Leverkusen 2 – 3 M’gladbach
03/02/17 Hamburger SV 1 – 0 Leverkusen
11/02/17 Leverkusen 3 – 0 Eintracht Fran…
17/02/17 Augsburg 1 – 3 Bayer Leverkusen

Atletico Madrid last 5 matches:
01/02/17 Atletico Madrid 1 – 2 Barcelona
04/02/17 Atletico Madrid 2 – 0 Leganes
07/02/17 Barcelona 1 – 1 Atletico Madrid
12/02/17 Atletico Madrid 3 – 2 Celta Vigo
18/02/17 Sporting Gijon 1 – 4 Atletico Madrid


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