FC Barcelona carry a slender one goal lead to the Vicente Calderon as they gear up to oust familiar foes Atletico Madrid from Europe’s premier football competition.
FC Barcelona are currently in midst of an end of season slump in form after having picked just a solitary point from their previous 3 league encounters. Their rivals in the league, Atletico Madrid, are also their opponents on Wednesday night in the 2nd leg quarter final clash in the Champions League.
Diego Simeone has managed to beat the Catalans on just one occasion (out of 15) and will need to upset the odds when the two sides get set to renew their feisty rivalry at the Vicente Calderon in a season defining clash for both managers. Reigning European champions Barcelona are hoping to be the first club in the Champions League era to retain their title.
Atletico Madrid will be without the services of their star striker Fernando Torres after he was sent off in the first leg at the Camp Nou for picking up two bookable offences. Simeone is likely to go in for a change in shape which could see the introduction of Augusto Fernández in the Los Rojiblancos midfield while Antoine Griezmann occupies the role of a lone striker.
Possible Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Lucas, Luís; Augusto; Saúl, Gabi, Koke, Carrasco; Griezmann.
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez will make his return to the Barcelona starting lineup against Atletico Madrid after missing last weekend’s clash against Real Sociedad due to injury. Jeremy Mathieu, Rafinha, Sandro, Thomas Vermaelen and Aleix Vidal will all miss Wednesday’s clash due to injury.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
- Atletico Madrid have not been able to defeat Barcelona in their last seven matches against the Blaugrana, in all competitions.
- Atletico Madrid’s six-match unbeaten run in the Champions League was ended by Barcelona in the first leg.
- Diego Simeone’s men have kept a clean sheet in five of these six matches.
- Barcelona have won seven of their last eight matches in the Champions League.
- The Catalans have picked up just 1 point from their last 3 league matches.
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Barcelona
Barcelona will be heavily relying on the services of Messi, Suarez and Neymar to get on the scoresheet at a hostile Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night. While Atletico are extremely solid at the back, they need to score a goal and chase the game in order to progress to the semi finals of the competition. A tight, tense affair in Madrid is likely to end in a low scoring draw which will see the Catalans narrowly scrape through to the next round at the expense of their fellow Spanish rivals.
Betting odds (Betfair)
- Atletico Madrid: 11/5
- Draw: 12/5
- Barcelona: 6/5