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After a goalless encounter at the Vicente Calderon last week, the tie now moves across town to the Bernabeu with a place in the semi-finals still very much in the balance.
Real Madrid will feel confident playing in front of their home fans, even if their relationship with the fans has been strained of late. Atletico will go in to the game happy to have not conceded an away goal, and they can take comfort from the fact that they have not lost to Real in the 7 games they have played so far this season.
Although a goalless draw in the 1st leg, the tie was not without drama and the bad tempered game should ensure that tonight is a full blooded affair between these cross-town rivals with pride, revenge and a place in the semis all at stake.
Tempers flared throughout the match, and Atletico striker Mario Mandzukic somehow stayed on the pitch for the full 90 minutes. The Croatian was out for revenge after being left bloodied from a Sergio Ramos elbow, and he was involved in every challenge following this but managed to avoid being sent off or substituted.
It was Real Madrid that had the best chances of the 1st leg, with Gareth Bale missing a fantastic opportunity in the opening moments after going through on goal. Atletico keeper Jan Oblak was in fine form, but he will be hoping that his team have more possession in tonight’s fixture as he and his defence had to work hard to shut out Real for 90 minutes. They do possess perhaps the best defence in Europe, but tonight they must also show more attacking intent in order to advance.
Real have been dealt a blow with Bale, Benzema and Modric all set to miss out, but Carlo Ancelotti has more than enough options on the bench at his disposal to make it an intriguing encounter and a match that is tough to call. After Atletico kept a clean sheet at home, the first goal will prove crucial and Real will be wary not to neglect their defensive duties in search of a goal.
The stage is set for another thrilling evening of Champions League football, and there is a huge amount to play for in Madrid tonight. The winner will advance to the semi-finals where Bayern Munich and Barcelona wait, and they will be joined either by Juventus or Monaco.
Image Source: BBC Sport.
There is of course more than a place in the semis at stake tonight, as Atletico will be out to seek revenge after last year’s final whilst Real will be looking for their first win over their fierce rivals this season.
In addition to missing Bale, Benzema and Modric, Real Madrid will also be without left-back Marcelo who is suspended.
Diego Simeone will be without suspended Mario Suarez, whilst Mandzukic should be fit after suffering an ankle sprain.