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Real Madrid beset by injuries ahead of tough Atalanta test

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Real Madrid meet Atalanta at the Gewiss Stadium in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.

The two sides have had identical returns from their last three competitive outings (W3). However, Atalanta will fancy their chances against the injury-hit visitors.

The hosts have only suffered one defeat in 18 matches since successfully negotiating their Champions League group stage campaign (W11, D6).

Madrid have won four competitive games on the trot, keeping a clean sheet in the last three, but they are beset by injuries.

Atalanta Preview

Atalanta progressed as Group D runners-up, securing a place in the knockout stages for the second season running.

Interestingly, they are the only side to reach the last-16 this term despite failing to win any of their three home matches in the group phase (D2, L1).

Gian Piero Gasperini’s all-out-attack tendency is highlighted by the fact that 71.43% of La Dea’s matches in the competition proper have featured over 2.5 goals (10/14).

Football often does not follow the script. However, if last season is considered a reference point, the Bergamo-based side have plenty to look forward to ahead of this match.

Atalanta’s first-ever appearance in the Champions League round of 16 saw them dismantle Valencia. The Italian team’s jaw-dropping performance saw them wallop the La Liga side 8-2 on aggregate.

Real Madrid Preview

Madrid recovered from a disappointing start to their Champions League campaign to eventually finish top of Group B.

However, Los Blancos’ displays in Europe have been far from impressive, as evidenced by the fact that they only won half (3) of their six group-phase fixtures (D1, L2).

Coming into this matchday, each of Madrid’s last four Champions League matches have yielded an identical 2-0 scoreline (W2, L1).

Zinedine Zidane’s men have been flawless in their recent trips to Italy, winning their last five Champions League away clashes versus Serie A clubs by an aggregate score of 12-1.

The reigning Spanish champions have scored against Italian adversaries in 19 consecutive European fixtures, last failing to do so against Juventus in 2008.

Team News

Hans Hateboer is the lone absentee for the home side.

By contrast, Zidane faces a nightmare ahead of this trip. The French manager has been left with the bare-bones in light of a severe injury crisis in the Spanish capital.

Sergio Ramos, Daniel Carvajal, Marcelo, Alvaro Odriozola, Eder Militao, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema are all ruled out with injuries.

Madrid’s official website has listed the players that have recently landed in Italy.

Predicted Line-ups

Atalanta (3-4-1-2): Pierluigi Gollini; Rafael Toloi; Cristian Romero; Berat Djimsiti; Robin Gosens; Marten de Roon; Ruslan Malinovsky; Mario Pasalic; Josip Ilic; Duvan Zapata.

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Ferland Mendy; Nacho; Raphael Varane; Lucas Vasquez; Casemiro; Luka Modrid; Toni Kroos; Isco Alarcon; Marco Asensio; Mariano Diaz.

You can watch Atalanta v Real Madrid and all the other Champions League games live online.

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