Real Madrid Over 1.5 team goals @ 1.93 with Pinnacle (2 units) - min odds 1.82
- Real Madrid are in better shape for this leg; Sergio Ramos is back, as is their leading goalscorer Karim Benzema.
- In midfield, they will be weaker defensively, with Valverde likely replacing the suspended Casemiro. Across all competitions, Real Madrid put up slightly higher xG numbers with Valverde on the pitch (1.81xG)
- Benzema's inclusion can't be ignored either (Isco started as a 9 in the 1st leg). He's their leading goal contributor (0.88 per 90 all comps), and overall Real Madrid score 1.82 per 90 with him on the pitch.
- The host's average Team xG jumps up with their captain Sergio Ramos on the pitch too, so far this season, they average 1.87 xG across all competitions.
- Real's attacking production at home has been strong this campaign with 2.33 goals and 1.73xG per 90 mins.
- Over the last 3 years, Real Madrid have only failed to score 2+ goals against one team (Man City), the last time before that came in a 1-3 loss to Juventus in 2018, a game they generated 2.42xG
- As I mentioned in other previews, Real Madrid are still a team that can shift gears for bigger matches. Just see their recent record in Spain vs the Top 6 (W7 D3 L0)
- In the last leg, they scored once and generated 1.9xG as Atalanta tried desperately to keep the score down with only 10 men on the pitch. Real Madrid won't encounter the same Atalanta in this leg (even if they go down to 10 men)
- Atalanta are in a precarious situation here, having to travel to Spain chasing a 0-1 deficit.
- Two automatic starters(Hateboer & Freuler) are out, while starting CB Djimsiti is a doubt.
- With Freuler missing, Pašalić will likely fill the hole he leaves. Some of you may remember the last time de Roon and Pašalić started at CM. Atalanta got pumped 5-0 by Liverpool! Neither Frueler nor De Roon can be replaced in this midfield, and I expect that to be quite noticeable tomorrow.
- Atalanta have only ever travelled to three teams in the UCL from a Top 5 league. Last season Man City and Valencia put a combined 8 past them, while this season they kept a clean sheet against a massively depleted Liverpool.
- Atalanta have played a total of 4 KO matches in the Champions League with an average xGA of 2.32
Final word: Atalanta will be extremely aggressive from the 1st minute. If things don't go their way early (which I don't think they will), desperation should creep in, and holes will open up for Real to exploit.