RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid
Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon
Thursday, 13-08-2020 @10pm
Ref: Szymon Marciniak (Polland)
The UEFA Champions League quarter finals continue on Thursday with RB Leipzig taking on Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.
Leipzig have enjoyed a decent campaign thus far, first qualifying for the Champions League yet again with a third place finish in the Bundesliga.
As far as their performance in Europe goes, they have been very consistent, losing just 1 of their 8 games so far while not letting in any goal in the knockout stages till date, having beaten Tottenham 4-0 on aggregate in the Round of 16.
Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, have been uncharacteristically shaky this season, including in their Champions League campaign, where they were beaten twice in the group stage.
However, Los Rojiblancos have turned things around in 2020, finishing 3rd in La Liga while getting past holders Liverpool in the Round of 16 in the Champions League, with a 4-2 aggregate win.
Thursday’s match-up will be the first-ever time that RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid will lock horns and ahead of the first meeting between the two sides.
Atletico confirmed on Monday that attacker Angel Corew and right-back Sime Vrsaljko were the individuals to test positive for coronavirus at the weekend.
Both players will self-isolate at home and will therefore play no part on Thursday, though Vrsaljko has been used sparingly this term and was already injured.
All other tests came back negative, meaning that the game has been given the all clear by UEFA to go ahead as planned.
Those two absentees aside, Simeone has a fully fit squad to choose from, with his biggest call coming up top.
Alvaro Morata has scored eight of his 15 Champions League goals in the knockout stages of the competition, but Diego Costa may get the nod alongside Joao Felix for this one.
As for Leipzig, Nagelsmann would ideally go with Yussuf Poulsen and Patrik Schick up top in the absence of Timo Werner who was sold to Chelsea.
That will mean retaining the same 3-5-2 setup that has worked so well for the club, but his hand may be further forced as Poulsen missed the end of the domestic campaign with an injury.
The German side may also be a little rusty given that this is their first competitive match in more than five weeks.
Leipzig and Atletico Madrid will be going head-to-head against each other for the first time ever. It is also the Bundesliga outfit’s first competitive meeting with Spanish opposition. Four of RB Leizpig’s last eight goals in the UEFA Champions League have come from the penalty spot. In fact, only Atalanta (5) have benefitted from more penalties than Leipzig (4) in this season’s competition. Atletico Madrid have always progressed against German opposition in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League (vs Leverkusen in 2014/15 and 2016/17; vs Bayern Munich in 2015/16). In the European Cup era (pre-1992/93), the only time they didn’t prevail was in the 1974 final against Bayern Munich (1-1; 0-4 replay). None of RB Leipzig’s 14 games in the UEFA Champions League have ended in goalless draws. They’ve kept a clean sheet in three of their last five games, after failing to keep a single one in any of their previous nine. RB Leipzig have won six and lost one of their European knockout ties in the club’s history, and have never been in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
The other Champions League Quarter final games
-Atalanta 1-2 PSG
-Barcelona vs Bayern Munich @10pm
-Man City vs Olympique Lyon @10pm