If you love defense, you will love Wednesday’s Champions League battle between Juventus and Atletico Madrid. Atletico are known for their defense under manager Diego Simone. They have allowed just 17 goals in 23 matches in domestic play, and that was the reason they had lost just once at the midway point of the season. Meanwhile, Juventus have given up a scant 15 goals in 23 matches, and they have been historically known for their play in the back.
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Atletico Madrid vs Juventus
- Date and Time: February 20, 2019, 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
- US Television Coverage: TNT
- Betting Line: Juventus PK -112, O/U 2
Juventus won their Champions League group as expected, but it wasn’t easy. The Italian giants lost to both Valencia and Manchester United, and they only managed to score nine goals despite having an abundance of great options of the attack. Fortunately, the defense held firm and allowed just four goals in six matches, and that was enough to win Group H. Juventus are unbeaten in domestic action, and their march towards an eighth straight Serie A title seems inevitable.
Atletico Madrid missed out on a great chance to win their Champions League group. They were favored to win Group A, but a 4-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in Germany erased those chances. Atletico have not been great in recent weeks either. They lost 1-0 on the road against Real Betis, and they were hammered 3-1 at home by Real Madrid last weekend.
Three players may be unavailable for Juventus on Wednesday. Their back line could be hurting as captain Giorgio Chiellini is dealing with a calf injury, and Leonard Bonucci is recovering from an ankle injury. Both players are listed as doubtful as of Friday. Forward Douglas Costa may be absent too, as he is questionable with a thigh issue.
Diego Costa will not be able to play for Atletico here. It’s a big loss for La Liga club as they were hoping he would be significantly recovered from a broken toe, but he hasn’t been cleared just yet. Defender Stefan Savic will miss the match too due to a strained hamstring, and two other players are questionable. Defender Lucas Hernandez is dealing with a knee injury, while midfielder Koke has an injured thighs.
Juventus Player to Watch
The player to highlight on the side of Juventus has to be the 100 million Euro man himself. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League’s all-time leading scorer, and this is why Juventus brought him in. He has 121 goals in 158 Champions League appearances, and Ronaldo will be out to add to that total here. Ronaldo is not afraid to fire away (he has over 100 shots more than any other player in Serie A), and we will hear his name a lot.
Atletico Madrid Player to Watch
If Atletico are going to score, Antoine Griezmann will likely be the man to provide the tally. Griezmann has been on fire in recent weeks, and his play has been a big part of Atletico’s continued success. He has scored nine goals in Atletico’s last 10 matches in all competitions, and he is doing it without Costa and with new forward Alvaro Morata struggling.
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Champions League Free Picks
The draw is a good play here. Atletico will find a way to shut down Juventus’ offense with their solid defense, but I see both teams breaking through. Despite their two recent losses, Atletico are great on the counter and will grab a goal there, and Juventus will eventually break through with their pressure. Take the draw and go with the under here, and the 1-1 exact score option might be a good one too.
Champions League Prediction: Atletico Madrid 1, Juventus 1
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