Atletico Madrid will continue to try and keep their Champions League season going strong when they face Bayer Leverkusen later this week.
Atletico Madrid (8/13)
Atletico Madrid have won La Liga in recent years and have also made it to the final of the Champions League twice: so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing in this competition. They seem to be more focused than ever before, as their 2-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow showcased. They also beat Mallorca 2-0 in La Liga, but aside from that, they’ve dropped quite a few points. They drew 0-0 with Celta Vigo, 0-0 with rivals Real Madrid, and proceeded to draw with both Valladolid and Valencia.
Atletico tend to get ahead and set up shop, or alternatively, wait for their moment to strike – which can lead to a cat and mouse game that will last longer than most would’ve thought. We’d suggest that the under 2.5 goals for Atletico isn’t the worst bet to be associated with, especially when you take one look at their defensive records over the years.
Bayer Leverkusen (5/1)
Many years ago Bayer Leverkusen was viewed as one of the very best clubs in European football: but that doesn’t appear as if it’s the case anymore. They’ve lost their last two Champions League games against Lokomotiv Moscow and Juventus, and in both games, they’ll feel like they could’ve done a little bit better. They have managed to beat 1. FC Union Berlin and FC Augsburg recently, but drew 1-1 with RB Leipzig and also lost to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Leverkusen may not be the best team on the planet, but they know how to set themselves up from a defensive standpoint. The under 2.5 goals bet seems pretty smart for Leverkusen who, at this stage, will probably take anything they can get. Sure, they’ve got a lot of potential, but some clubs aren’t even able to fulfill that potential until it’s too late – which is the kind of fate they’ll be hoping to avoid.
The momentum of these two teams is incredibly different, with Atletico being on the rise and Leverkusen being left to wonder whether or not they’ll even break into the Europa League at the minimum. We don’t think they’ll blow them out of the water because Leverkusen are clearly going to set up very defensively, but Atletico have the kind of experience that should guide them through to the knockouts and beyond.
As stated both teams tend to remain pretty conservative with goals scored and conceded, which is why we’re going to back the under 2.5 goals. It’s going to be a nervous encounter, as the third game in the group always is, as this could define the kind of direction that both clubs go in during the remainder of their European campaigns.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 8/13 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 4/5. (All odds are taken from bet365).