Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid
Tuesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

Real Madrid
Their habit of doing things the hard way was in evidence once again, but Real Madrid eventually got the job done against Valencia at the weekend. Zinedine Zidane resisted the temptation to play the so-called B-team at the Bernabéu and must have been relieved when the ever-reliable Marcelo popped up with a late winner to sink Los Che. That result means that Madrid's title fate is still in their own hands with four games to play.
Now, attentions turn back to Europe and the latest instalment of what has recently been a one-sided city rivalry in continental competition. Real, of course, have beaten Atlético in two of the last three Champions League finals, but it's worth remembering that they also saw them off in the 2014/15 quarter-finals. Tuesday night's first leg will give us a good indication of the likelihood of Los Merengues making it four out of four.
Zidane must do without Gareth Bale, who remains sidelined after aggravating an old injury in El Clásico. That means there is likely to be a start for the in-form Isco, with Marco Asensio and James Rodríguez as more offensive options. Raphael Varane returned to action against Deportivo La Coruña last week but might not dislodge Nacho at centre-back.

Atlético Madrid
You imagine there were mixed feelings in the Atlético dressing room when the semi-final draw was made. On the one hand, they're doubtless sick of facing Real in the Champions League. On the other, facing the old enemy in the semi-final over two legs is probably preferable to the chance of a hat-trick of final defeats.
In truth, that outlook is probably a bit negative. Diego Simeone's side have been in commanding form of late, winning eight of their last ten league games and rediscovering some of the trademark defensive grit that appeared to be ebbing away at stages earlier in the campaign. Tellingly, the 5-0 win over Las Palmas at the weekend was Atleti's 15th clean sheet of 2017.
The team news is not entirely positive for the away side: Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco is a major doubt after picking up a shoulder injury against Villarreal last week and José María Giménez limped out the Las Palmas game with a muscle problem. Given that Juanfran and Sime Vrsaljko are both out, Stefan Savić might be asked to play out of position at right-back.

Match Odds
Real's Champions League record at home this decade is impressive: since 2010/11, they have won 35 of their 41 games at the Bernabéu. They are unbeaten in this season's competition, so it's little surprise that they are 1.83 favourites to come out on top in the first leg.
There's plenty of reason for Atleti to be optimistic, however. Los Colchoneros are unbeaten in 15 away matches (all competitions) and held their city rivals at the Bernabéu just last month. Odds of 3.75 on another draw might tempt, therefore.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Real can usually be relied upon for goals at both ends of the pitch. They have scored in their last 35 Champions League home matches and have kept just three clean sheets in their last 25 matches in all competitions.
Their visitors, though, are infamously frugal in Europe: Atleti have kept 27 clean sheets in 46 Champions League games under Diego Simeone since 2013/14. Their campaign has been defined by ruthless minimalism - they have made the last four despite scoring only 13 times in 10 games - and there's little doubt their gameplan will be to dig in and frustrate Real. The unders is the more appealing option at 1.83.

Half-Time Score
This is likely to a bruising, intense battle between two seasoned European juggernauts. The best betting angle might well be backing them to take some time to size each other up: Real Madrid's last 11 Champions League goals have been scored from the 47th minute onwards and Atleti are hardly likely to come out all guns blazing. The 0-0 half-time score holds some appeal, then, even at odds of 3.00.

To Score
Cristiano Ronaldo averages 0.75 goals per game in the Champions League knockout stages and proved against Bayern Munich that he remains well capable of deciding matches even as his pace seeps away. Odds of 1.85 look more than fair.
Antoine Griezmann continues to be the key cog in Simeone's attack. The Frenchman has scored or assisted half of Atleti's Champions League goals since last season and looks a solid pick at 3.00 to find the net here.

Ref Watch
There is some British interest left in Europe after all: Martin Atkinson takes charge of Tuesday's match. He officiated Atleti's 1-0 win over PSV Eindhoven in the group stage and has handed out 15 yellow cards in three Champions League games this term.

Recommended Bet
Back 0-0 half-time score at 3.00

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