13-time winners Real Madrid visit dark horses Atalanta in the Champions League Round of 16. Los Blancos are the most successful outfit in the history of the competition but it was La Dea who were seconds away from a semi-final place in the 2019-20 edition. Zinedine Zidane’s troops bowed out at this stage last year to Manchester City.
Where and when: Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo – 24 February, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Atalanta vs. Real Madrid: BT Sport 3
Last time: Remarkably, the teams have never faced off before.
Atalanta v Real Madrid Predictions and Preview
It has been another positive 12 months for Gian Piero Gasperini and his squad. Atalanta recently booked their place in the Coppa Italia final and are well positioned to earn another top four finish in Serie A.
The next objective for La Dea is to take a first-leg advantage to Spain and they are perfectly capable of matching PSG’s astonishing victory at Camp Nou. The former Inter boss has a welcome selection dilemma on his hands with Luis Muriel, Duvan Zapata, Josip Ilicic, Aleksey Miranchuk, Ruslan Malinovskiy and Viktor Kovalenko battling it out for just three starting roles.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
|Muriel to score last||9/2||Offer|
|Over 4.5 goals||11/4||Offer|
|Draw and both teams to score||10/3||Offer|
Zapata is expected to get the nod ahead of compatriot Muriel for his physical presence up top. The big Colombian has 11 strikes and five assists from 25 appearances and is 9/2 to break the deadlock.
Ilicic is 6/1 in the same market and has got better with age. The 33-year-old hit all four in the 4-3 victory at the Mestalla last March and was sorely missed in the last eight showdown with the Ligue 1 holders. Malinovskiy and Kovalenko are 8/5 and 11/5, respectively, to register anytime, while flying full-back Robin Gosens can be found at 7/2. La Dea are 8/5 to emerge triumphant and a draw is 13/5.
Elsewhere, Zidane is missing Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Federico Valverde, Alvaro Odriozola, Eden Hazard and Rodrygo, and, considering the firepower at Gasperini’s disposal, the legendary Frenchman will be even more concerned.
Karim Benzema is available and the star forward is 15/4 to open proceedings. The vice-captain is fifth in the all-time Real scorer charts and will be flanked by Marco Asensio and Vinicius, who are both 2/1 to bag anytime. Despite the mounting treatment table, Los Blancos are still the slight favourites at 29/20 to come away with the spoils.
One to watch for Atalanta: Matteo Pessina became a full international in November and is a mainstay in Gasperini’s eleven after an impressive loan spell at Verona. The all-action midfielder is 11/4 to notch anytime.
One to watch for Real Madrid: Isco seems set to finally leave Santiago Bernabéu in the summer but still has a role to play before then. The diminutive playmaker is 13/2 to hit the last effort.
Long shot: Ordinarily, Atalanta would back themselves against any side on the continent. Gasperini’s troops struck on 116 occasions last season and, ominously for Madrid, the goals come from all areas of the pitch. With Zidane struggling for numbers, La Dea know they must capitalise, and a 3-1 home win is 19/1.