If Carlsberg did decent Champions League semi-finals, then this Madrid derby would probably be one of them. Of course, other beers are available, but this one sees two young managers in Real’s Zinedine Zidane and Atleti’s Diego Simeone go head to head in this first leg tie in a bid to take on either Monaco or Juventus in the Final in Cardiff.
Speaking of Cardiff – Welshman Gareth Bale, who was born in the capital city, is out of this clash due to injury. Replacing Bale could well be Lucas Vasquez, or, alternatively, Zidane could tinker with his attacking trio by bringing in Isco, Marco Asensio or James Rodriguez.
For Simeone, it’s same old, same old. He’s still got pretty much the same squad as he has had for the last few years, with a number of the personnel those who just missed out winning this competition last year – ironically to Madrid in the Final.
Atleti have a pretty decent record at the Bernabeu, they’re undefeated in their last four trips there – winning three of those, and in Jan Oblak, have a goalkeeper who looked simply unbelievable in a recent match – can Cristiano Ronaldo find a way past the 24-year-old and continue his great Champions League form?
Despite Atletico enjoying trips to the Bernabeu, when it comes to the Champions League, their city rivals Real are dominant, beating them each time, whether that be in normal time, extra time or on penalties.
Atleti do have a tiny bit more quality than previous years, but with that have become less mean when it comes to allowing opposition to find the back of the net. That solid defence isn't as solid as it once was.
What We Sayin'?
We think this clash will be a little more open than ties of yester-year. Simeone's side aren't as physical as in previous campaigns and are likely to go for Real - whose defence is hardly reliable either. We'll cut to the chase and get behind Sergio Ramos to score last - the Spaniard loves a dramatic late goal and he's a very decent 12/1 to do just that!
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