Atlético Madrid v Real Madrid
Live on BT Sport 2
A 3-0 defeat to your closest rivals is rarely cause for celebration, but Atlético Madrid's capitulation at the hands of Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final must have been especially galling. For a start, there was a grim Groundhog Day feeling: unless they can stage a remarkable comeback on Wednesday, this will be the fourth consecutive season Real have ended their European hopes.
The manner of the defeat must have provided an extra layer of frustration to Diego Simeone. He prides himself on building durable, mentally strong teams who dig in when the going gets tough, yet his charges looked utterly lost once they had gone behind at the Bernabéu. There was little fight and little sign that they could stem the tide, let alone reverse it.
A narrow win over Eibar at the weekend will have provided a tiny bit of respite, but Simeone will be under no illusions as to the size of the task at hand. With goals needed, he's likely to recall either Kévin Gameiro or Fernando Torres - the latter might just have the edge given how listless Gameiro was in the first leg. At the back, there are gaps to fill again, with José María Giménez, Juanfran and Sime Vrsaljko still struggling with injuries.
Talk about adding insult to injury. Not content with obliterating Atleti last week, Real landed a psychological blow before the return leg by agreeing a contract with hotly-tipped left-back Theo Hernández, who is now likely to swap one half of Madrid for the other when Los Merengues activate his £24m release clause this summer.
The timing of the deal might add a little extra needle on Wednesday night, although Real are in a position of such power that it is unlikely to make a difference. They were dominant at the Bernabéu, turning in perhaps their best performance to date under Zinedine Zidane, and followed it up with a commanding win over rudderless Granada at the weekend.
Zidane was able to rest a host of players for that one, meaning the away side should be fresh and motivated for this one. Gareth Bale remains sidelined, but the form ofIsco means his absence will not be lamented by many.
Atlético's home form in the Champions League under Simeone is hard to argue with: they have won 17 of 22 appointments at the Calderón, losing only once. In the knockout stages, their record reads W6 D4, so the 2.72available on the Atleti win and the 3.70 available on the draw within 90 minutes are both worthy of consideration.
This, though, is not a normal Atlético Madrid home match. Their modus operandi is usually keeping things tight, knowing that they either have an away leg to come or an away goal to defend. Here, they must come out and attack, even knowing it's likely to be in vain. They're more than capable of racking up a few goals, but this gameplan is also likely to leave them susceptible to counter-attacks from a savvy Madrid outfit.
Real don't need to win, of course, which makes them a risky bet. But the 1.99 available on the Draw No Bet market looks a smart option given their superiority last week.
Half Time/Full Time
Atleti will no doubt be desperate not to suffer a knockout blow early on, like they did in the first leg. Real will be more than happy to feel their way into the match, knowing that the onus is on their opponents to make things happen. 13 of Real's last 14 Champions League goals have been scored from the 47th minute onwards. If you're after a longer-odds punt, you could do worse than Draw/Real Madrid at 7.00.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Atleti have kept 16 clean sheets in their last 18 Champions League home games - a stunning record whichever way you cut it. But again, this game might not follow the usual pattern because of what happened in the first leg. Given Atlético's need for goals, plus the fact that Real have scored at least twice in every single one of their Champions League games this term, the overs is probably the way to go at 1.81.
Cristiano Ronaldo. Absolutely no explanation necessary.
Back Real Madrid Draw No Bet at 1.99
Back Draw/Real Madrid HT/FT at 7.00
Back Cristiano Ronaldo to score at 1.90
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