Atletico Madrid are in the driving seat after the 4-2 victory at Bay Arena and all that’s left is to finish the job at their Vicente Calderon.
Out-of-sorts Bayer Leverkusen don’t look like the team that can upset los Colchoneros in Madrid, although stranger things have happened.
Atletico Madrid were very unfortunate not to lift at least one Champions League trophy having twice lost in the final to bitter rivals Real Madrid, but they might get a chance to make things right.
Los Colchoneros are again on the verge of reaching the final stages, as a place in the last 8 appears to have been booked with the comfortable triumph in Leverkusen.
Atletico Madrid have since suffered domestic setbacks against Barcelona and Deportivo La Coruna, although they have now returned to the right track.
Los Colchoneros defeated Valencia and Granada to cement a top 4 berth in La Liga, although they still have Villarreal and Real Sociedad breathing down their necks.
But, Atletico first plan to secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals and they are 1.67 (4/6) to win the return leg as well.
Fernando Torres and Gabi have resumed training with the group, although the midfielder is suspended for the Leverkusen game.
Stefan Savic and Kevin Gameiro are both struggling through injury and they may not be risked in Wednesday’s clash at Vicente Calderdon.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Oblak – Vrsaljko, Gimenez, Godin, Filipe Luis – Koke, Partey, Saul, Carrasco – Gameiro, Griezmann.
This is quickly turning into a season to forget for Bayer Leverkusen, who are going through a very rough patch at the moment.
Die Werkself slipped to 10th in the Bundesliga campaign after taking just one point from last three matches and they now sit mere five points above the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Bayer are on the verge of crashing out of the Champions League, seeing that they will have to score at least three goals in the return leg if they want to qualify for the next stage.
That definitely seems like mission impossible given the team’s current form, and last-gasp penalty miss that would have won them the Werder clash is likely to act as an added blow to the players’ confidence.
The reality is that Bayer Leverkusen have got plenty of room for improvement, but taking everything into account, we don’t see how they are going to produce a shock at Vicente Calderon.
Hakan Calhanoglu and Benjamin Henrichs are both suspended, whereas Bernd Leno, Jonathan Tah and Lars Bender are rated doubtful.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Leno – Jedvaj, Toprak, Dragovic, Wendell – Bellarabi, Baumgartlinger, Kampl, Brandt – Volland, Hernandez.