Champions league quarter-final preview: RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid: Predictions Team News Line Up
RB Leipzig are competing in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history but face a tough task in 2016 finalists Atletico Madrid in Lisbon on Thursday night (20:00 kick-off). Atleti knocked out holders Liverpool in the last round and are in the quarter-finals for a fifth time in seven seasons.
Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig have already navigated a tough Group G, which included the likes of Lyon and Benfica, as well as annihilating Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on aggregate in the last-16, but this encounter presents their toughest challenge thus far.
Atleti are notoriously difficult to break down, so the Saxony club will need to be firing on all cylinders when they take to the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Their hopes of breaching the Madrid goalmouth have been dented, however, after star striker Timo Werner opted to join Chelsea before the end of the protracted season.
Diego Simeone’s men will be hoping to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2016/17 and have already eliminated reigning champions Liverpool, but can Los Colchoneros pull off another huge win and set up a meeting against one of Atalanta or PSG in the penultimate round?
Here’s what the coaches had to say:
Julian Nagelsmann, Leipzig coach: “We’ll look to play our game, we’re focused on ourselves. We know they have a lot of experience over two legs – but anything can happen in just one game as opposed to two. There’s pressure and nerves. But we want to relax the players and not increase the pressure ahead. There’s always tension.”
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach: “We’ve got a great game against a good side with a young coach who’s doing a great job. They’re a great side, they came third in their league. It’s not just important to win – it’s the only option. I’m only focused on preparing the game in the best way I can and taking the game in the direction we want it to go. I’ll repeat – it’s not important to win, it’s the only thing that you can do.”
RB Leipzig & Atletico Madrid’s previous line-ups:
- RB Leipzig (vs Augsburg): Mvogo; Konate, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Mukiele, Adams, Haidara, Tasende; Forsberg, Olmo; Werner*.
- Atletico Madrid (vs Real Sociedad): Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Lodi; Koke, Herrera, Partey, Vitolo; Costa, Morata.
It was confirmed by Atletico Madrid on Monday that both Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko have tested positive for coronavirus and will now undergo a period of self-isolation at home, meaning they have not travelled with the squad for Thursday’s meeting.
Both players will self-isolate at home and will therefore play no part on Thursday, though Vrsaljko has been used sparingly this term and was already injured.
All other tests came back negative, meaning that the game has been given the all clear by UEFA to go ahead as planned.
Those two absentees aside, Simeone has a fully fit squad to choose from, with his biggest call coming up top.
Alvaro Morata has scored eight of his 15 Champions League goals in the knockout stages of the competition, but Diego Costa may get the nod alongside Joao Felix for this one.
With Timo Werner now in west London after completing his move to Chelsea, RB Leipzig will need to tweak things around up front, which could mean a two-man partnership of Yussuf Poulsen and Patrik Schick. In other news, last-16 hero Marcel Sabitzer is a major doubt for this clash.
RB Leipzig & Atletico Madrid Recent form
RB Leipzig Champions League form: WWDDWW
RB Leipzig form (all competitions): WDWDLW
Atletico Madrid Champions League form: WLLWWW
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions): DWDWWD
Scoreline prediction: RB Leipzig 1-2 Atletico Madrid