Atlético face Chelsea affected by title hiccups
We’re right here once more, speaking about Champions League final 16 ties that look a lot completely different on the eve of battle than that they had performed after they have been drawn pre-Christmas. Atlético Madrid had been La Liga’s runaway leaders, dealing with a Chelsea staff with extra teething issues than a toddler. Now with Thomas Tuchel in cost on the Bridge and Diego Simeone’s males smarting from a house defeat to Levante that minimize their home benefit on the prime to a few factors, now we have a good contest in prospect.
Some of it’s pure regression to the imply for Atlético. Luis Suarez‘s lethal ending up till the previous couple of video games noticed nearly every part he hit on track go in and even now he has scored 39% of Atleti’s La Liga objectives – they missed a plethora of possibilities towards Levante. In phrases of the staff as an entire Simeone himself famous that harvesting the identical quantity of factors within the second half of the season as they did within the first would “very difficult” (they took 50 from a attainable 57).
Yet simply as key has been harm and sickness catching up with the squad, with João Félix, Thomas Lemar and Yannick Carrasco amongst these to have suffered from COVID and simply re-finding their rhythm. Carrasco will not be in Bucharest – fairly than Madrid – as he’s on the harm record with Sime Vrsaljko and defensive rock José María Giménez, and with Kieran Trippier nonetheless lacking, Simeone should make do and mend at full-back/wing-back. There might be corridors of alternative for Chelsea’s large boys Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso to do their factor.
Rose placing out fires ahead of City conflict
It’s one thing that German soccer is nice at doing – compartmentalising. Moves are introduced ahead of time to take away doubt and hypothesis from the equation and everyone simply will get on with it, like adults. The swap of Julian Nagelsmann to Leipzig, you may keep in mind, was introduced an entire 12 months ahead of time.
So why has the information that Marco Rose is leaving Borussia Mönchengladbach for the opposite Borussia (Dortmund) on the finish of the season left such an obvious cloud? Well, form is a matter, with the chatter earlier than Gladbach confirmed his departure being round Rose’s choice of a depleted XI for the derby with Köln, whch Gladbach then went on to lose. Their newest reverse, to a late winner by relegation-threatened Mainz on Saturday, leaves the staff in below-optimum fettle ahead of meeting runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City in Budapest on Wednesday.
If we park form for a second, Gladbach may current an actual problem to Pep Guardiola and firm, who’ve handled an entire vary of Champions League setbacks in recent times even when in imperious form domestically. Rose’s staff have been glorious in a gaggle with Real Madrid and Serie A leaders Inter – who they certified ahead of – and are well-drilled on the large event, with actual attacking selection in Alessane Pléa, Lars Stindl and Marcus Thuram. Gladbach can get at high quality opposition and their 4 video games with Inter and El Real produced a complete of 16 objectives, so we may get extra fireworks right here.
Could Lazio take benefit of Bayern’s harm issues?
With Real Madrid and Barcelona on the wane and Paris Saint-Germain having much less energy in depth than final season, Bayern Munich needs to be the favourites to retain their trophy, proper? Maybe. This season’s punishing schedule has taken its toll as Hansi Flick’s males as a lot because it has anybody else, and their absentee record places an entire new slant on their journey to Rome this week.
Bayern have picked up one level from their final two video games towards Arminia Bielefeld and Eintracht Frankfurt, shrinking their lead on the prime of the Bundesliga from seven factors to 2. It’s little marvel if you keep in mind that Benjamin Pavard and Thomas Müller are nonetheless recovering from COVID with Serge Gnabry and Douglas Costa out this week and Corentin Tolisso struggling a severe thigh harm that can preserve him out for the season.
Lazio, then again, have each proper to take pleasure in their first time getting previous the Champions League group stage since Sven-Göran Eriksson was the boss 20 years in the past. They have sensible and versatile gamers within the last third led by Ciro Immobile but additionally together with Sergej Milinković-Savić, Joaquin Correa and Luis Alberto, who hit their winner towards Sampdoria on the weekend to proceed their latest good spell and take them again into the highest 5 in Serie A. Bayern’s stretched defence beware.