Champions League: Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid

Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid

Wednesday February 23, 6:45am AEDT

 

Bayer Leverkusen

Roger Schmidt’s side are having a poor season in the Bundesliga by their own standards, but have enjoyed better fortune in the Champions League.

Though they finished second in Group E to Monaco, Leverkusen were one of only six teams to emerge from the group stages unbeaten. Really they should have won the group and could now be facing somewhat easier opposition. Leverkusen defeated both Monaco and Spurs, but could only draw twice with the group whipping boys CSKA Moscow.

They come into this match off the back of two comfortable victories, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 and then Augsburg 3-1. Star striker Javier Hernandez scored a brace in both matches.

If Hernandez is Schmidt’s most important player going forward, it is his central defender Jonathan Tah that is his talisman in defence. The German international could be out with a muscle problem, while Hakan Calhanoglu is banned for the rest of the season.


Atletico Madrid

Like their opponents, Atletico Madrid are faring better in Europe than they are domestically.

Atletico won Group D despite facing very tough opposition in the shape of Bayern Munich. Yet in La Liga, Diego Simeone’s team have been unable to mount their now normal title challenge. Currently fourth, Atletico are seven points behind Real Madrid, but their local rivals have two games in hand.

Realistically, Atletico’s challenge is to usurp Sevilla to finish third, while fending off the threat from Champions League qualification challengers Real Sociedad and Villarreal. Having recently been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona, the Champions League is Atletico’s only shot at real glory.

Simeone’s job has not been made easier by the fact that his goalkeeper Jan Oblak, right-back Juanfran and centre-back Diego Godin are all unavailable.


Referee

Willie Collum will officiate. The Scottish referee has shown two red cards in his four Champions League matches this season.


Match Odds

Atletico Madrid are the 2.42 favourites, with the draw at 3.25 and Bayer Leverkusen at 3.45.

With Atletico’s success long been built on solidity, they seem a little short to win at a time when three key members of their defensive unit are out. Atletico have drawn four of their last five away games and that looks the value bet here.

If you really do fancy an away win, go safe with the Draw No Bet option, where you can find Atletico priced at 1.68.


Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Under 2.5 goals is the favourite at 1.61, with overs at 2.56.

These sides met in the same stage of the 2014-15 competition, with both teams winning a leg 1-0 before Atletico eventually triumphed on penalties. With that in mind, Under 1.5 Goals is an option worth exploring at 2.86. It’s a bet that’s landed in two of Leverkusen’s group games and four of Atletico’s


To Score

As previously mentioned, Chicharito is the man in form for Bayer Leverkusen and can be backed at 3.40 to find the net.

For Atletico, Antoine Griezmann leads the betting at [2.75]. Kevin Gameiro comes in next at 3.10, having scored a hat-trick as a second-half substitute in the 4-1 win over Sporting Gijon at the weekend.


Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – The Draw at 3.45

Back on Betfair BACK – Under 1.5 goals at 2.86