The one-off quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League will kick-off in Lisbon, as the free-scoring Italian club Atalanta will take on title-aspiring French Champions Paris Saint-Germain.
After a 4-0 loss on Matchday 1 and without a win at the halfway point in the group stage, Atalanta bounced back in style and have reached here defeating Valencia 8-4 on aggregate in the previous round. PSG broke their three-year round-of-16 hoodoo with a 3-2 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund to book their spot in the quarters.
Atalanta looked set to end their maiden Champions League campaign in the group stage after three straight losses conceding 11 goals in the process. However, things turned around and the 8-4 aggregate win over Valencia underlines the threat that Atalanta brings to the table. Atalanta have lost only once in their last 13 competitive matches winning nine, but have won only three in their last seven. Additionally, the absence of Josip Iličić will be a big blow especially since the likes of Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel, who have 18 Serie A goals each in this season, have struggled in European games.
PSG raced through their group with five wins and a draw, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two. A 2-1 loss away at Borussia Dortmund in the round-of-16 raised concerns over their European credentials, considering they have crashed out of this stage for three years running. However, a 2-0 win in the second leg meant PSG are now hot favourites to progress. That said, match fitness will be a problem as PSG haven’t seen competitive action since COVID-19 lockdown. Kylian Mbappe’s horrific ankle injury during the recent French Cup final puts his participation in doubt, although with the likes of Neymar, Angel Di Maria, and Mauro Icardi in the side, PSG are well stocked.
Both teams stand three wins away from clinching the UEFA Champions League crown and that in itself is a fabulous chance for both Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain. Atalanta have caught everyone’s attention with their attacking football in Serie A. Although the restart hasn’t been kind on the Italian side, they still remain a very dangerous side. The loss of top scorer Josip Iličić will be a blow, though, as Atalanta hope to cope up for his absence. PSG will be without their own absence, with star striker Kylian Mbappe almost certain to miss. The French champions also have the handicap of playing less competitive football than their Italian opponents, although the class in PSG side is impressive. Goals remain high on the agenda for this encounter and we are backing this to stay that way. Both teams scoring goals remains a strong pick and as does over 2.5 goals.