Atletico ready for Juve test, Schalke still hopeful against City

Tuesday, 2019-03-12 06:14:34
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Madrid's former star player Cristiano Ronaldo could also see his current team Juventus exit at the same stage when they welcome Atletico Madrid on March 13. (Photo: Reuters)
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Atletico Madrid face 90 vital minutes when they play the away leg of their Champions League last-16 tie away to Italian champions Juventus on Tuesday night.

Atletico defend a 2-0 first leg lead in the Allianz Stadium and will place their faith in their impressive defensive record to keep Cristiano Ronaldo and company at bay.

Simeone's side have kept five clean sheets in their last five games in all competitions, although Real Madrid did score three goals past them in early February, which will give Juventus hope.

The fact that Atletico's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium is the venue for this season's final is a huge incentive for Diego Simeone's side, as is the fact that Real Madrid, who beat them in the 2014 and 2016 finals, are already out of the competition after suffering a 4-1 humiliation at home to Ajax last week.

Simeone will be able to sit on the Atletico dugout (or more likely pace the technical area) after only being handed a fine for an obscene gesture after Jose Gimenez netted Atletico's second goal in the first leg three weeks ago, and his presence will be important on the sidelines.

Midfielder Thomas Partey and striker Diego Costa both will miss out through suspension, while Diego Godin has been included in the squad after missing the weekend win at home to Leganes with a minor thigh injury after suffering a knock in Friday's training session.

Lucas Hernandez and Felipe Luis both miss out through injury and that will mean Juanfran Torres moves across to play at left back, despite being naturally right footed.

The game will see Alvaro Morata return to the club where he spent two seasons and won two Serie A titles and he will probably partner with Antoine Griezmann in attack. The Frenchman will have to be careful he doesn't pick up a booking which would see him suspended for the quarterfinals, but first of all Atletico have to ensure they make it through to the last eight.

Bundesliga strugglers Schalke still hopeful against City

Schalke 04 are still hoping to upset all the odds and get past Manchester City in their Champions league last-16 tie despite trailing and facing a relegation battle in the Bundesliga.

The Germans, a lowly 14th in their domestic league and only three points above the bottom three, lost the first game 3-2 and could be tempted to focus on facing RB Leipzig on Saturday.

"Our situation in the Bundesliga is quite precarious, and we are fully aware of that,” coach Domenico Tedesco acknowledged at a news conference on the eve of Tuesday's City clash.

However, the Gwerman-Italian coach said he will not rest players against the English champions at the Etihad, although full back Daniel Caligiuri is out with an ankle sprain.

"We have come here to try and take the small chance we have of winning," Tedesco added. "We will play cautiously offensive.

"We have to play even better this time and need a really special day.

Reuters, Xinhua