Preview: Real Madrid vs. Atalanta BC

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Atalanta BC

Real Madrid will be looking to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League when they welcome Atalanta BC for the second leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday night.

Los Blancos hold a slight advantage heading into the clash in Madrid, having recorded a 1-0 victory when the two teams met in the first leg on February 24, with Ferland Mendy netting late on for the Spanish club.

Madrid were missing a number of important players for the first leg against Atalanta, with Isco playing through the middle due to the absence of Karim Benzema, but an impressive performance from Zinedine Zidane’s side ended in a 1-0 victory as Mendy struck in the 86th minute of the clash at Gewiss Stadium.

Los Blancos will now welcome Atalanta for the return fixture, with the Spanish side looking to avoid being eliminated in the last-16 stage of the Champions League for the third year in a row, having lost to Ajax and Manchester City in this round in each of the last two campaigns.

The Spanish champions have only actually won five of their last 11 games in this competition, losing seven of their last 18, but they have been victorious in 11 of their last 12 fixtures with Italian opposition, including two successes over Inter Milan in the group stages of this season’s tournament.

Madrid will enter the contest off the back of a 2-1 win over Elche in La Liga on Saturday, which saw them move into second position in the table, six points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, but they could be nine points off the summit and back in third behind Barcelona by the time that they take to the field for this game.

The 13-time European champions are not considered to be one of the favourites for the competition this season but simply cannot be discounted due to their recent success.

Atalanta reached the quarter-finals of last season’s Champions League in their first ever appearance in the competition, ultimately losing 2-1 to eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain; La Dea actually led the last-eight tie until the very final moments, when the French champions found two late goals.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side have impressively won their last five Champions League away matches, while they have been beaten in just seven of their last 30 European fixtures, recording 14 wins in the process.

Atalanta will be visiting Madrid for the first time, and they have only ever taken on Spanish opposition on one previous occasion, beating Valencia in the last-16 stage of last season’s competition.

Real Madrid Champions League form:
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Real Madrid form (all competitions):
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Atalanta BC Champions League form:
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Atalanta BC form (all competitions):
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