Champions League Preview (18th April, 17 Tuesday Matches)
By Visesh Rathi
Leicester vs. Atletico Madrid
Leicester has seen a turnaround of sorts since Ranieri’s departure. They have already knocked Sevilla out in the previous stage but Atletico will be a different ball game together. They are defensively resolute and they have Simeone at help and Griezmann in front of the goal. This gives them an added advantage over the hosts who will look to avoid conceding an away goal. To stage a comeback against last year’s finalists Leicester need to deliver a performance that saw them upset the entire Premier League last season. The defenders will have to keep Griezmann and Torres (yes, he can still poach) at bay and Vardy and Co. will need to grab any chances that come their way as those will be rare. Atleti know that a draw is sufficient while Griezmann will be keen to display what he can bring to the English football should his touted move to Manchester United materialize.
Prediction: Leicester 1 – Atletico Madrid 1. (Atletico to advance on aggregate)
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
The Galacticos are eyeing consecutive Champion League trophies and they are well placed for that as of now. Two away goals and a buoyant Ronaldo, determined Isco and omnipresent Casemiro are just some stars that are expected to shine brighter in this galaxy tonight. The only black hole might be at the back as we have seen them concede more goals than they would like and keep fewer clean sheets than table toppers are expected to have. That is precisely where they might have a problem as Lewandowski is back for Bayern and he would be keen on a repeat of the performance where he downed Madrid with four goals four years ago. Vidal would be a key play maker and Alonso would be keen to add important silverware before retiring. But with Hummels out and a star studded midfield and attacking options, they will have a task at hand defensively. Neuer might be needed more than he might be used to domestically and keeping Ronaldo and Modric at bay should be a priority here. In spite of flair of attacking options in both the teams we can see more cautious approach as Madrid know that just containing Bayern would be sufficient to book their berth in semis.
Prediction: Real Madrid 1 – Bayern Munich 2. (Real Madrid to advance on penalties)