- Atalanta have lost just one of their last 20 games in all competitions.
- Real Madrid are without Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo for this tie.
- Real Madrid lost both home and away to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League group stages.
Neutrals’ favourites to put on a show in Switzerland
Atalanta stole the neutrals’ hearts with their fantastic run to the Champions League quarter finals last season and Gian Piero Gasperini’s innovative tactics continue to produce some of the most entertaining football on the continent.
The Serie A outfit now face a monumental task in eliminating the most successful side in European Cup history, but their chances are better than some may think as they face a Real Madrid side decimated by injuries.
Injuries plague Los Blancos
Already struggling after injuries to Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard, Zinedine Zidane was dealt a huge blow at the weekend as Karim Benzema joined the injury list, leaving the Frenchman woefully short of options up front.
Mariano, Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio are expected to make up the forward line, but the trio have just six goals between them in 68 combined appearances this season.
Los Blancos still head into this match in good form after winning a fourth consecutive game at the weekend, but Atalanta represent a step up in quality from Real Valladolid and the tide has shifted in the Italians’ favour with the absence of Benzema.
Atalanta to gain crucial first leg lead
Atalanta also head to Switzerland on the back of a confidence-boosting victory after their scintillating performance against Napoli resulted in a 4-2 win. They are unbeaten in five competitive games now and have won their last three. They have lost only one of their last 20 games in all competitions and beat Liverpool at Anfield in the group stages, so they are not a team to be underestimated.
With Real Madrid’s injury problems worsening by the day we like the look of an Atalanta win here but, with only two clean sheets in their last seven, the depleted Spaniards’ attackers could still cause problems and a 2-1 correct score prediction is our choice.