Barcelona hold a slender 2-1 lead when they travel to Madrid to meet arch rivals Atletco in the second leg of the Champions League quarter final tie.
Atletico Madrid were drawn against Spanish opponents in the quarter finals of the competition on last two previous seasons. They eliminated Barcelona in 2013/14 season after drawing 1-1 in the first leg away from home and winning 1-0 at home, courtesy of a goal by Koke. In the 2014/15 season, they were beaten by Real Madrid by a 1-0 aggregate.
The defending Champions Barcelona are in the quarter-finals of the competition for a record ninth season in a row were easily the second best side at Camp Nou in the first leg. They were handed a life-line by a silly red card to Torres and two goals from Suarez give them an advantage going into the second. The tie is not finished here and it is evenly poised and Barcelona must lift their level of performance to ensure qualification to the semifinals.
Atleti are on a 6 match unbeaten record at home, with 5 wins and a draw. They tasted defeat twice in their last 4 matches in all competitions and each of those games have seen over 2.5 goals.
Atletico Madrid have lost twice in Champions League this season, both home and away and their overall record reads 5 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats. Their home record this season is 3 wins and a loss.
Barcelona fell to back-to-back defeats in La Liga after losing 1-0 to Real Sociedad in the weekend, before a 2-1 defeat to bitter rivals Real Madrid on 2nd April 2016.
Barcelona were unbeaten in 39 matches in all competition prior to the El Classico loss and now they had lost two in the space of three games and won only once in their last 4.
Barcelona’s away record in the Champions League this season is 2 wins and 2 draws, while overall record stands at from 7 wins and 2 draws from 9 matches.
Atletico Madrid: Team News
Fernando Torres is suspended following his red card in the first leg, while Tiago and José Giménez are injured.
Diego Simeone is likely to stick with the same formation he used in the first leg and no changes are expected, other than those which are forced.
Atletico Madrid: Expected Starting Line-up (4-3-3)
Oblak – Felipe Luis, Savic, Godin, Juanfran – Koke, Gabi, Niguez, – Griezmann, Carrasco, Correa.
Barcelona: Team News
Jérémy Mathieu, Adriano, Aleix Vidal and Sandro Ramírez are sidelined due to injuries and we are not expecting any changes to the line-up that started in the first leg at Camp Nou.
Barcelona: Expected Starting Line-up (4-3-3)
Ter Stegen – Alves, Alba, Mascherano, Pique – Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta – Messi, Suarez, Neymar.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: Head-to-Head stats
Since the 1-0 win in the second leg of 2013/14 Champions League quarter finals, Atletico have not beaten Barcelona in 8 meetings in all competitions.
Barcelona have won all of the last 7 meetings with Atletico Madrid regardless of the venue or competition.
Atletico Madrid have lost in their last 2 home matches against Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: Prediction
Barcelona attack is fast becoming blunt and their inability to create convert their dominance into goals have backfired in the last couple of matches. They were very lucky to come with a 2-1 win in the first leg and credit solely goes to Fernando Torres’ silly red card.
Atletico Madrid must win this to qualify and shouldn’t let more than 2 goals if they win be one goal margin. They will fancy their chances as they are a strong defensive unit and a dangerous team on the counter attack. I could see them edging this one.
Atletico Madrid to win is my prediction and I believe this will be by 1-0. If Barcelona gets a first half goal, then we will see a much more open and attacking game, but I can’t see it happening.
Best Bet: Atletico Madrid to qualify @ 4.25