MX23RW : Monday, January 20 00:00:15| >> :600:3378132:3378132:
Nov 26, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
Attendance: 28,365
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Dinamo Zagreb
Muriel (27' pen.), Gomez (47')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Dinamo Zagreb - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday night's Champions League Group C clash between Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Atalanta BC may have revenge on their mind when they welcome Dinamo Zagreb to the San Siro on Tuesday night, having lost the reverse fixture 4-0 in Croatia on matchday one of their Champions League campaign.

The Italian outfit need a win to stand any chance of reaching the last 16 of the competition, but face a Zagreb side with very realistic ambitions of reaching the knockout stages themselves.

Match preview

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini pictured on August 25, 2019© Reuters

After finishing third in Serie A last season, the highest position in the club's history, it is fair to say that more was expected of Atalanta in their first ever Champions League campaign.

Given a rude introduction to the tournament with their matchday one mauling at the hands of the same opponents they face on Tuesday night, Gian Piero Gasperini's side have gone on to pick up just one point in Group C so far.

Only a win will keep their hopes alive going into the final matchday, then, and with four points separating them from both Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk it could also be pivotal to their hopes of at least earning the consolation of Europa League football after Christmas.

Defeat will guarantee fourth place for the Italians, while even a draw coupled with a Shakhtar win or draw against Manchester City would confirm their spot at the bottom of the pool.

Atalanta's Mario Pasalic celebrates scoring their first goal with Alejandro Gomez on November 6, 2019© Reuters

There was reason for encouragement last time out, though, as Atalanta held City to a 1-1 draw to claim their first ever Champions League point, while their other 'home' outing in this season's competition only saw them lose to a 95th-minute goal.

By contrast, Gasperini's side have lost both away games while shipping nine goals in the process, so they will be relieved to have such an important match in front of their own fans, even if it will be taking place 50km away from Bergamo in Milan.

La Dea have now lost just two of 19 home European games, and their late matchday two defeat at the hands of Shakhtar was their first on home soil since 1988.

Atalanta go into Tuesday's match without a win in their last five games across all competitions, though, with Saturday's 3-1 loss at home to champions Juventus seeing them slip down to sixth place and extending a wait for victory which stretches back to a 7-1 thrashing of Udinese.

Dinamo Zagreb coach Nenad Bjelica pictured in May 2019© Reuters

Zagreb's only win of the group stage so far was that 4-0 triumph on matchday one, with back-to-back draws against Shakhtar - at an aggregate score of 5-5 - leaving them level on points with the Ukrainian side.

Shakhtar's marginally better head-to-head record - they scored three goals in Zagreb whereas Dinamo managed only two in Ukraine - gives them the slightest edge, though, and defeat for Dinamo on Tuesday coupled with a win for Shakhtar over Man City would end Zagreb's hopes of finishing in the top two.

It could have all been different had Nenad Bjelica's side not thrown away a 3-1 lead in stoppage time of their most recent Champions League game, but they are still very much in contention to make it past the group stage for the first time.

However, to do that they may need to end a run of 14 successive away group games without victory, which included 13 consecutive defeats prior to that draw at Shakhtar.

Indeed, Champions League victories of any kind are a rarity for Dinamo, who have managed just five in their last 40 outings in the competition proper, so the matchday one triumph over Atalanta was something of an anomaly.

Zagreb will be wary that the Italians have the firepower to respond in kind on Tuesday too given that Atalanta boast the best attacking record in Serie A.

Atalanta Champions League form: LLLD
Atalanta form (all competitions): WDLDDL

Dinamo Zagreb Champions League form: WDWLDD
Dinamo Zagreb form (all competitions): WWWDWD

Team News

Atalanta's Luis Muriel celebrates scoring their third goal against SPAL on August 25, 2019© Reuters

Luis Muriel was only used as a late substitute against Man City in the last round of European fixtures and again had to settle for a place on the bench at the weekend in the continued absence of compatriot Duvan Zapata.

Zapata has been sidelined since October due to a thigh injury and will also miss this game, although Remo Freuler is back available having overcome a similar problem of his own.

Zagreb will be without the suspended Nikola Moro for this tie after he was sent off against Shakhtar on matchday four.

Captain Arijan Ademi has not featured since that match while Amer Gojak is also sidelined with a thigh injury, but the in-form Dani Olmo, who has three hat-tricks already this season and 12 goals from his last 12 games, is expected to start again.

Atalanta possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Castagne; Gomez; Ilicic, Pasalic

Dinamo Zagreb possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Theophile-Catherine, Dilaver, Peric; Stojanovic, Olmo, Ivanusec, Majer, Leovac; Petkovic, Orsic

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We say: Atalanta 2-2 Dinamo Zagreb

This is a very difficult match to call with both sides capable of scoring goals and Atalanta showing improvement last time out against Man City. Defeat could be terminal for either team, particularly Atalanta, and that need for victory could result in an open, attacking score draw.

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Who will win Tuesday's Champions League clash between Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb?

Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb
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