Now or never for Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid host Bayer Leverkusen on matchday five in Group B of the Champions League in need of a victory to give themselves a chance of qualification.
Diego Simeone’s side are two points behind Porto in second place and could be knocked out of the competition if they do not win and Porto pick up a positive result when they travel to Club Brugge.
Atleti have picked up four points from as many games so far but tend to turn it on in the big occasions, especially in knockout football.
The Mattress Makers have only scored two goals in the competition, but they have the talent to comfortably get past a stuttering Leverkusen side.
Leverkusen showed a lot of promise last season in the Bundesliga, qualifying for the Champions League with a young side, but the opening stretch of this campaign has been very challenging for them.
Xabi Alonso’s men are just above the relegation picture in the German top-flight and they will be hoping to at least climb into the Europa League qualification spot in Group B.
Koke, Thomas Lemar, Sergio Reguilon and Marcos Llorente are out for Atleti, pointing towards why they have struggled in the group.
That said, Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata have the talent and experience to inspire Atleti to victory.
Leverkusen are without some key individuals as well, with Sardar Azmoun, Karim Bellarabi, Exequiel Palacios, Patrik Schick and Florian Wirtz on the sidelines.
The visitors started life under Alonso with a promising victory, but they are winless since and were embarrassed at Eintracht Frankfurt to a 5-1 scoreline the weekend before last, they are much more of a work-in-progress than Atleti who have experience in the side and a clear identity.
Atleti are no longer unders bankers, and I am more comfortable taking the hosts at a backable price given the importance of the fixture.
Atleti have scored in eight of ten.
Atleti have conceded in eight of ten.
Atleti have seen both teams score in six of ten.
Atleti have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.
Leverkusen have scored in six of ten.
Leverkusen have conceded in eight of ten.
Leverkusen have seen both teams score in six of ten.
Leverkusen have seen over 2.5 goals in six of ten.