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Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid: Can Atleti take advantage with Bale and Modric out injured?

22 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid: Can Atleti take advantage with Bale and Modric out injured?

Diego Simeone’s side don’t even need to win to go through, but 50-goal Ronaldo will be waiting for them

Since Real Madrid beat Atletico 4-1 in last season’s European Cup final, their record against their cross-town rivals reads: DLLLDLD.

The last ‘D’ in that sorry looking sequence refers to last week’s Champions League quarter-final first let at the Vicente Calderon.

Adding another ‘D’ on to that line – assuming it is a score draw – would see Atletico through to the semi-finals, and Real out.

After the goal-less draw in the first leg last Tuesday, Diego Simeone’s side now don’t even need to win to progress to the next round, they simply need to match Real’s goal tally in a draw and they will go through on the away goals rule.

The first leg was mostly a tale of attack and defence: Real doing the former, Atleti the latter.

As Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema prodded and poked, trying to find a way through, Diego Godin, Miranda and especially goalkeeper Jan Oblak thwarted them at every turn.

For every fine run or shot, there was an even better tackle or block.

Gareth Bale – much maligned by how own fans at the moment, some of whom started a “drop Bale” campaign on Twitter before last week’s match – set the tone in that game when he raced through on goal in the third minute, only to see Oblak save his effort.

Those anti-Bale Real fans will get their wish in this Wednesday’s game: Bale is out injured with a calf problem that forced him off after just three minutes in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Malaga.

To add to Real boss Carlo Ancelotti’s woes, midfield string-puller-in-chief Luka Modric is out with a knee ligament strain, and goal-getter Karim Benzema is also a doubt.

All three started the first leg but will now be forced to watch this most finely-balanced tie from the sidelines.

Inevitably, Real will look to Ronaldo to get them through this one. The Portuguese scored in the win against Malaga to make it a scarcely believable 50 goals for the season – a tally he has now racked up in the last five consecutive seasons.

Ateltico also warmed up for this one with a win – a 2-1 victory at Deportivo on Saturday, with both goals courtesy of Antoine Griezmann.

And Simeone will likely need the Frenchman to have his shooting boots with him on Wednesday as he has injury worries of his own: striker Mario Mandzukic is a major doubt for the match with an ankle injury.

So here’s how it stands: two – possibly three – of Real’s top performers are out; one for Ateltico. The visitors don’t need to win, but do need to score. And there’s a place in the Champions League semi-finals at stake.

Of course Real will have home advantage, but that might not be quite the boon it at first appears: the last three times Atleti have visited the Bernabeu they have a draw and two wins to show for it. And either will do on Wednesday night.