- Spain’s Atletico Madrid and Germany’s RB Leipzig collide in Lisbon on Thursday in a clash of relative lightweights amongst the clubs remaining in this year’s UEFA Champions League
- Both will have their eye on continental glory at the unique, 11-day tournament in Portugal
- Get a breakdown of both clubs, Thursday’s odds and a few value picks
It’s hardly the end to the UEFA Champions League campaign that anybody imagined when the group stage began back in September, but nonetheless there will be plenty of pride — and cash — on the line come Thursday for a single-game Leipzig-Atletico quarterfinal.
The match, like all the knockout tournament matches, will be played in Portugal’s capital as a neutral, spectator-less affair; a definite blow for Atletico Madrid, who count on strong home support and did not lose at the Wanda Metropolitano (2-1-0) during the group stage.
Like the larger corporation that owns the club, Leipzig are a well-oiled machine which have arrived on the scene to disrupt the status quo in Germany’s Bundesliga — and Europe in the process.
RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|RB Leipzig||pk, +0.5 (-127)||+215||Over 2.5 (+120)|
|Atletico Madrid||pk, -0.5 (+106)||+140||Under 2.5 (-150)|
Odds taken August 9
Atletico: End of an Era?
Talismanic manager Diego Simeone’s accomplishments at Atletico are numerous: a La Liga title, two Europa League triumphs and numerous near-misses on the game’s biggest stage — not to mention a move to a state-of-the-art new stadium — have propelled the club to new heights.
However, an underwhelming La Liga campaign which saw Atleti edge Sevilla via tie-break for third place (a full 17 points behind champions and rivals Real Madrid) coupled with a sense of transition within the squad has left some wondering about Cholo’s future.
Nonetheless, Atleti finished the campaign relatively strong; three wins (and clean sheets) in the club’s final five matches provided some momentum, though three weeks have passed since the team last kicked a ball.
Leipzig Represent New Wave
It will be fascinating to see how Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig fares in its first competitive action since June 27.
Beyond a friendly against Wolfsburg in late July (1-1), there has been precious little in the way of competition since Leipzig sputtered down the stretch and conceded second place to Dortmund over the course of a 2-2-1 final five matches.
With Timo Werner — responsible for three of Leipzig’s last four goals in Bundesliga play — now a Chelsea player, offensive production will be by committee through the likes of Marcel Sabitzer, Patrik Schik and Ademola Lookman, with Spaniard Dani Olmo providing some creativity.
There are many that do not like what RB Leipzig represents; some feel the commercialization of soccer, combined with their multi-club ownership model, are bad for the sport, but Leipzig has had undeniable success in the four seasons since first earning promotion to the Bundesliga.
Leipzig vs Atletico Head-to-Head Stats
|8||2019-20 UEFA Champions League Games||8|
|14 (1.75/game)||Goals scored||12 (1.50/game)|
|8 (1.00/game)||Goals conceded||7 (0.88/game)|
|3-0 vs. Tottenham||Biggest win||2-0 (2x vs. Lokomotiv)|
|0||Number of Champions League Finals Appearances||3|
|0||Number of Champions League Finals Wins||0|
|3rd||Final Domestic League Positions||3rd|
Recent History Says
For Leipzig, this stage of the competition is uncharted territory; their maiden voyage in the Champions League ended with a 3rd-place finish in the group stage back in 2017-18, when they would go on to bow out of the Europa League at the quarterfinals stage vs. Marseille (3-5 agg.).
On the Atleti side of the matchup, the quarters are familiar surroundings; Simeone’s men made it to at least this stage in four consecutive seasons (2014-17), but failed to progress past the Round of 16 the last two seasons.
It’s worth noting the Spanish side is 3-0 in the Champions League knockout round vs. German opponents during the Simeone era (Leverkusen ’15, Bayern ’16, Leverkusen ’17).
It might very well take extra time and possibly even penalties, but it’s difficult to bet against Diego Simeone’s tactical staff and bonded squad — especially against a Leipzig squad that has not seen competitive action in over six weeks.
Alvara Morato meanwhile, Atleti’s leading frontman for much of the season, has already shown his scoring prowess in Champions League wins over Bayer Leverkusen and Liverpool this season. Look for him to strike again.
Picks: Atletico to Qualify (-163), Alvaro Morato to Score (+160)
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