Thursday night’s big Champions League clash comes between two of the dark horses for the tournament, RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two sides, with RB Leipzig newcomers to this level of competition, in stark contrast to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, who finished runners-up in 2014 and 2016 and came within a whisker of beating city rivals Real Madrid on both occasions.
It’s been a big rebuilding job at Atletico this season and they’ve had their fair share of struggles, with few of the stalwarts that reached those finals remaining at the club. But they’ve grown into the season as it’s gone on, and really turned a corner just before lockdown, eliminating the champions Liverpool at Anfield, roaring back with three dramatic extra time goals.
Since then, their final outing before lockdown, Atletico have returned in fine fettle, going unbeaten in 11 games since the restart (seven wins, four draws) - only champions Real managed picked up more points over that period in La Liga.
That puts them as favourites here, 13/10 with Paddy Power, while Leipzig are priced at 9/4.
But it’s worth considering that Simeone will be without two of his players, Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko, who haven’t travelled for this fixture after testing positive for coronavirus.
For Leipzig, Ibrahima Konate and Yussuf Poulsen are doubts here, while Timo Werner will play no further part for the club after signing for Chelsea.
The Germany international scored 28 Bundesliga goals this season, only Rouwen Hennings at Dusseldorf scored a greater proportion of their team’s goals - he also scored four in eight in the Champions League campaign and will be a big miss here.
The Bundesliga outfit haven’t played a compettiive fixture in over a month, with the German calendar getting started and subsequently finished much sooner than their Spanish counterparts, but they recently played out a 1-1 draw in a friendly with Wolfsburg for preparation.
We recommend backing Atletico Madrid to win and keep a clean sheet here, which is priced at 3/1 at Betfair Exchange.
RB Leipzig will be blunted without star man Timo Werner, while Atletico’s European pedigree in recent years has been build upon the foundation of a strong defence. They’ve also kept five clean sheets in their last 10 outings in La Liga.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change
Atletico Madrid to win to nil - 3/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)