- It’s Matchday 6 in the UEFA Champions League next week
- Second place in Group D is still up for grabs between Atleti and Leverkusen
- Atleti massive favorites for the home win
While Juve has tied up top spot in UEFA Champions League Group D, there’s an almighty battle developing for second place and a spot in the lucrative knockout stages of the tournament. It has boiled down to a two-way fight for second between Atleti and Bayer Leverkusen, with the Spaniards going into the final round of matches just one point ahead.
With Atletico Madrid at home in the final game to Lokomotiv on Wednesday, December 11, at 3:00 pm EST and Leverkusen also at home to Juventus, the odds appear to favor the Spanish team, but is there value to be had around this fixture? We’ll take a closer look.
Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv Moscow UCL Odds
|Atletico Madrid||-1.5, -2.0 (-107)||-476||O 2.5 (-118)|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||+1.5, +2.0 (-109)||+1150||U 2.5 (+102)|
Odds taken on Dec. 6
Atleti are massive favorites for this one but it’s a game loaded with pressure for them. Anything other than a win will leave the door open for Leverkusen, who have a home tie against already-qualified Juve. Given that the Italians have already sewn the group up, they may not go 100% at this one, maybe resting some of their regular first XI, and so Atleti have to assume Leverkusen can get a result here.
The stakes couldn’t be higher for the Spaniards and for them to miss out on the knockout phase would be a blow to a club who have gone deep in the tournament in recent years. Manager Diego Simeone would deem a place in the Europa League – awarded to teams that finish third in the Champions League qualifying groups – as a failure.
Still Work to Do for Atleti
Atletico had a tough start to the group with Juve visiting the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on opening day, and had to come back from 2-0 down to earn a point. Second-half goals from Stefan Savic and Hector Herrera – the latter in the 90th minute – salvaged a draw from what looked an impossible position. They followed this up with a solid away win against Lokomotiv in Moscow – goals from Joao Felix and Thomas – and on Matchday 3 they gave themselves the edge over Leverkusen in the group when Alvaro Morata scored the only goal of the game.
At that stage, Atleti looked nailed on to qualify but two consecutive defeats on Matchdays 4 and 5 have left them with work still to do. The away tie in Germany saw Leverkusen beat them 2-1 – Morata’s 90th-minute goal being no more than a consolation – and against Juve in Turin, they went down 1-0.
Off to a Flyer but No Joy for Lokomotiv
Lokomotiv expected a tough campaign and they haven’t been disappointed, but back on Matchday 1 they got themselves off to an absolute flyer. A 2-1 away win in Leverkusen – goals from Grzegorz Krychowiak and Dmitri Barinov – offered them hope of their first-ever visit to the tournament’s knockout stages, but sadly for the Moscovites that was as good as it was going to get.
Despite playing some good soccer and not being on the receiving end of a thumping at any stage, four consecutive defeats followed for Lokomotiv. The third one of those, at home to Juve, effectively signaled the end of their Champions League journey, with the fourth, another home defeat – this time by Leverkusen – ending their hopes of a Europa League place.
Twist and Turns Await in Madrid
Everything here points to a home win but it may not be as straightforward as it appears. Matchday 6 notoriously throws up some odd results due to the pressure created by the do-or-die nature of the games with knockout phase qualification at stake.
It will be one of those evenings where events on the Madrid pitch will be affected by events in Germany. If, for example, Leverkusen score an early goal against Juve the whole dynamic changes as, if results were to stay the same, Atleti would finish third. There will be twists and turns.
Ultimately it comes down to Atleti holding their nerve and being able to handle the occasion. I can see it being a tight one, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Leverkusen beat Juve, but can see Atletico edging home – and through to the round-of-16 – by the odd goal.
Pick: Atleti to win 1-0