Manuel Veth –
Atlético Madrid vs Leverkusen – Tuesday, October 22, 17:55BST/18:55CEST – Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Both Atlético Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen head into matchday 3 on the back of disappointing results. Atlético managed just a 1-1 draw against Valencia this weekend despite taking the lead.
“The team is still new and doesn’t have chemistry yet,” Diego Simeone said to the media after the game. “We still lack balance to solve complicated moments in the game.”
To make matters worse, Atlético will also be without star signing João Felix against Bayer Leverkusen. Signed for €126 million from Benfica, the Portuguese super talent picked up an ankle injury on the weekend and will be out for three weeks.
The game against Valencia gave Leverkusen some good examples of how to play against the Spaniards. Simeone’s team struggled to get the momentum going and only scored thanks to a penalty. A hard press and attacking football, however, can still unbalance the Spaniards.
Those are the good news for Leverkusen, who, under head coach Peter Bosz plays refreshing attacking football. The game against Eintracht Frankfurt on the weekend, however, highlighted that Leverkusen struggle when they play against hard-working and aggressive sides.
Leverkusen had 65% possession and dominated in shots on goals. But Frankfurt should have been up by four goals in the first 45 minutes. Frankfurt worked harder and were more efficient in front of the goal; they also bullied Leverkusen’s defensive line where Mitchell Weiser, in particular, struggled.
“Aggressiveness and direct play are the keys against Atlético,” sporting director Rudi Völler pointed out. Leverkusen need points to make up for the defeat against Lokomotiv on matchday 1. Only with a win or two points against either Juventus or Atlético do the Werkself have a chance to secure the third spot.
The flipside is that Bayer could be all but eliminated on Tuesday. Atlético are a strong team, even out of form, and there will be little to no chance of a comeback to finish in the top three, let alone the top two, should Bayer lose on Tuesday.
Atlético Madrid vs Leverkusen – Players to look out for:
Kieran Trippier #23 – Atlético Madrid
Kieran Trippier has excelled since joining Atlético Madrid from Tottenham this summer. The Englishman has joined Atlético for €22 million and has featured in seven games this season. The right-back’s work-rate seems to fit in well with Diego Simeone’s football philosophy.
Kevin Volland #31 – Bayer Leverkusen
Kevin Volland had a night to forget on Friday against Eintracht Frankfurt. The forward struggled to convert his chances and often made the wrong decisions in the final third. But Volland is a hard-working player and can be expected to bounce straight back with a good performance against Atlético on Tuesday.
Atlético Madrid vs Leverkusen – Match Stats
- Atlético were 4-2 aggregate victors when the teams last met, in the 2016/17 round of 16.
- Atlético are on a nine-match unbeaten run at home to German clubs (W7 D2), dating back to a 1-0 defeat by Dortmund in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League group stage.
- This season Leverkusen have lost 1-2 at home to Lokomotiv and, last time out, 3-0 at Juventus, making it just two wins in their last 15 UEFA Champions League matches (D8 L5).
- The loss at Juventus ended Leverkusen’s five-match unbeaten run in away UEFA Champions League games (W1 D4), since a 3-2 group stage loss at Roma in November 2015.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Atlético Madrid vs Leverkusen – 4-2
Atlético Madrid vs Leverkusen – Lineups
Oblak – Renan Lodi, Felipe, Gimenez, Trippier – Lemar, Saul Niguez, Thomas, Koke – Diego Costa, Morata
Head Coach: Diego Simeone
Hradecky – Tah, S. Bender, L. Bender – Demirbay, Baumgartlinger – Volland, Amiri, Havertz, Bellarabi – Alario
Head Coach: Peter Bosz
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.