MX23RW : Tuesday, April 23 09:23:41| >> :600:5501671:5501671:
Feb 20, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Vicente Calderon Stadium
Attendance: 67,193
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
2-0
Juventus
Gimenez (78'), Godin (83')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Atletico Madrid's Champions League clash with Juventus in Madrid.

Atletico Madrid will welcome Italian champions Juventus to the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday night for the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League.

Juve are seen by many as the favourites to land the trophy this season, but the Serie A giants face a huge task to overcome Diego Simeone's stern Atletico team over two legs.


Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone shouts at his players during the La Liga derby with Real Madrid on February 9, 2019© Reuters

It would be fair to say that Atletico are not the most entertaining team to watch, but the manner in which the capital giants continue to grind out results is extremely impressive.

As it stands, they are Barcelona's closest challengers in La Liga, with a total of 47 points leaving them second in the table. Simeone's side have lost two of their last three in the league, though, and only just edged past Rayo Vallecano on Saturday courtesy of a second-half Antoine Griezmann effort.

Atletico were thumped 4-0 by Borussia Dortmund in the group stages of this season's Champions League, but that proved to be their only defeat, with a total of 13 points seeing them finish second in Group A to advance to the last-16 stage of the competition.

Simeone's team have reached the final of the Champions League in two of the last five seasons, losing to bitter rivals Real Madrid in both 2014 and 2016. This is the fifth time in six seasons that the capital side have been present in the last-16 stage of the competition and they will be desperate to advance to the quarter-finals.

Last term, Atletico failed to progress from their Champions League group but went on to win the Europa League, beating Lokomotiv Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, Arsenal and Marseille to land the title.

Atletico have actually won four of their five last-16 ties at this stage of the competition, while they have been victorious in four of their eight two-legged knockout encounters with Italian clubs.

The Spanish giants are unbeaten in 12 home Champions League knockout matches, meanwhile, and have won their last five home games against Italian visitors, suggesting that Juve will find it difficult to pick up a first-leg advantage on Wednesday night.

Atletico are not going to blow the Italian champions away in the first leg, but they will be tight and compact with the view to collecting a positive result ahead of the return game in Turin next month.

Recent form: WWLWWD
Recent form (all competitions): DWWLLW


Juventus

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Sassuolo on February 10, 2019© Reuters

Juve continue to dominate Italian football, but there is no question that the Champions League is the trophy that the Old Lady really want. They reached the final in both the 2014-15 and 2016-17 season, but lost to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

Not since 1996 have Juve won the European Cup, but they are considered by many to be the favourites this term. The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will have something to say about that, though, and Atletico will also be extremely tough opponents in the round of 16.

This is Juve's 10th Champions League last-16 tie, winning six and losing three of the previous nine. The Italians beat Tottenham Hotspur at this stage of last season's competition but then lost to eventual winners Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, which was seen as a huge disappointment.

Juve actually lost twice in the group stages of the competition, but a total of 12 points was enough for them to finish top of Group H ahead of Manchester United, who beat them in Turin.

So often the bridesmaid, Juve have actually reached nine European Cup finals, losing a record seven, including all of their last five. They seem well-placed to challenge for the trophy this season, but knockout football has a knack of bringing up surprise results.

Massimiliano Allegri's side will enter this match off the back of a 3-0 win over Frosinone in Serie A on Friday night. Incredibly, Juve are yet to lose in the league this season and sit 13 points clear of second-placed Napoli at the summit, suggesting that yet another Serie A crown is already wrapped up.

Cristiano Ronaldo was signed last summer with the view to helping Juve win the European Cup. The Portuguese has incredible history in the competition, while he scored 22 goals in 31 games against Atletico during his time with the reigning European champions.

Ronaldo will certainly relish returning to the Spanish capital on Wednesday night and will be looking to add to the 21 goals that he has managed in all competitions this season. That said, the attacker has only struck once in the Champions League thus far this term.

Recent form: WWWLWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWLDWW


Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Juventus in the Champions League on November 27, 2018© Reuters

Both Diego Costa and Stefan Savic made their returns from injury against Rayo at the weekend, suggesting that the pair will be involved against Juve, although neither is likely to start.

Lucas Hernandez will miss out with a knee problem, but Koke has trained ahead of the match and the Spaniard will reportedly be named in the starting XI following a muscular issue.

Alvaro Morata is likely to start against his former club, with Griezmann also featuring in the final third.

Thomas Lemar, Angel Correa and Vitolo are wide options for Simeone, but it seems likely that Koke, Rodri Hernandez, Thomas Partey and Saul Niguez will start in midfield.

As for Juve, Juan Cuadrado is still out of action following knee surgery, but Allegri has managed to recover a number of defensive players in recent weeks.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will start as the two centre-backs having returned from separate injuries, with Joao Cancelo and Alex Sandro in the full-back positions.

Allegri has decisions to make in midfield with a number of players vying for three positions, but Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi are seen as certain starters.

Ronaldo will be joined in attack by Paulo Dybala - linked with a move away from the club in recent weeks - and Mario Mandzukic, with the latter returning to the club that he represented during the 2014-15 campaign.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Arias, Godin, Gimenez, Luis; Koke, Rodri, Thomas, Saul; Griezmann, Morata

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Pjanic, Matuidi, Khedira; Ronaldo, Dybala, Mandzukic


Head To Head

Wednesday will bring just the third meeting between these two teams in European competition.

The pair previously locked horns during the group stage of the 2014-15 competition; Atletico recorded a 1-0 victory in Madrid, before a goalless draw in Turin.


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We say: Atletico Madrid 1-2 Juventus

Atletico are so difficult to overcome on home soil, but this Juve team looks capable of winning the competition this season. We fancy the Italians to edge out a narrow victory at the Wanda Metropolitano.


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Who will win Wednesday's Champions League clash in Madrid?

Atletico Madrid
Draw
Juventus
Atletico Madrid
24.5%
Draw
15.0%
Juventus
60.5%
Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Sassuolo on February 10, 2019
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