Bayer Leverkusen are in an unenviable situation headed into Tuesday’s tilt with Atletico Madrid. Leverkusen have already lost to both Juventus and Lokomotiv Moscow in Group D play, falling to the latter at home, so their Champions League betting odds are long. The German club is probably going to even miss out on a third-place finish that would put them in the knockout rounds of the Europa League. Atletico Madrid are tied with Juventus atop the group, and they will look to suffocate Bayer Leverkusen to earn three points and keep pace with the Serie A giants.
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- Atletico Madrid vs. Bayer Leverkusen
- Date and Time: October 22, 2019, 12:55 p.m. ET
- Location: Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
- US Television Coverage: TNT
- Betting Line: Atletico Madrid -0.5 and -1, O/U 2.5
Order has been restored to La Liga. After a wild first few weeks, there’s a familiar trio at the top of the table, and Atletico Madrid are back in third place.
Atletico continue to have the best back line in Europe. Diego Simeone is a brilliant defensive tactician, and that has led to the club conceding just four goals in eight La Liga soccer matches this season. They have not allowed a goal in their last five matches in all competitions, beating Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 in Champions League action, RCD Mallorca 2-0 in La Liga play, and playing Celta Vigo, Real Madrid, and Real Valladolid to scoreless draws.
Bayer Leverkusen are tied with four other clubs for third place in the Bundesliga with a 4-2-1 record. Their lone loss was a 4-0 battering on the road against Dortmund, but their performance in Champions League action has not been good.
A shocking 2-1 loss to Lokomotiv Moscow at home was likely the death knell for their knockout round hopes. Lokomotiv held the ball for just 21 percent of the match, but Bayer were killed on the counter, allowing eight shots and some real scoring chances.
The German club knew that they had long odds of earning a result in Milan against Juventus, and they ended up without a shot on frame in a 3-0 loss. They did have most of the possession, but the Italians had much better chances and cashed in on those opportunities.
Sime Vrsaljko is expected back in the next few weeks after a long absence due to knee ligament damage from last season, and Stefan Savic will miss about a month too. That leaves Atletico Madrid a little thin in the back entering this match. Winger Vitolo is questionable for the hosts with a hamstring issue.
Midfielder Charles Aranguiz is doubtful for the visitors due to a hairline fracture in his foot, and center back Jonathan Tah and left back Daley Sinkgraven are both questionable.
Atletico Madrid Player to Watch
Jan Oblak has had a phenomenal season. Oblak might be the best goalkeeper in the world, and the tabloids are rife with speculation that Real Madrid might be ready to shell out €120 million to bring him to Atletico’s cross-town rival. He already has seven clean sheets this season, and his play is one of the reasons why Simeone’s system is so frustrating for opponents.
Bayer Leverkusen Player to Watch
Kai Havertz has been a fantastic playmaker for Leverkusen since debuting for the club at the age of 17. He was the youngest professional in the club’s long history, and he was the youngest player in Bundesliga to register 50 caps. The midfielder has 26 goals in league play in his young career, and he will be the focal point of Bayer’s attack.
The under is a fantastic bet any time that Atletico are involved in a match with a total over two, and I see them holding the line to earn a 1-0 win.
Champions League Prediction: Atletico Madrid 1, Bayer Leverkusen 0
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