In the second of this year’s one-off Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon on Thursday, Bundesliga surprise package RB Leipzig will take on Spanish powerhouses Atlético Madrid who are in their fifth Champions League quarters in their last seven seasons. Leipzig won Group G with impressive performances after just one loss and then dispatched last season runners-up Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on aggregate in the round of 16. Atlético Madrid suffered two losses in the group phase and lookded underwhelming but stormed into contention as a dangerous opponent eliminating defending champions Liverpool in the round of 16.
Leipzig have been the surprise package of the season with stunning performances in the league phase. Finishing third in the German Bundesliga this season, Leipzig bring impressive – if not dominating – form into this match losing just one of their last 17 matches including a friendly. This sequence saw them win and draw eight each, although their Champions League form is very good. Leipzig have won four of their last six, drawing the other two and have scored at least twice in five matches. Crucially, most of their matches have been entertaining, with nine of Leipzig’s 12 Champions League matches including five this season produce over 2.5 goals.
Atlético have also finished third in La Liga this season and bring their usual dogged performances to this match. After finishing second to Juventus in Group D, Atlético trumped Liverpool via extra time. Including that game, six of Atlético’s last seven Champions League matches have finished with under 2.5 goals which remain their regular result. Even in La Liga, Atlético have seen their last four matches finish with under 2.5 goals. In fact, Atlético’s last seven Champions League wins have come with either a 1-0 or a 2-0 scoreline. Crucially, Atlético have scored first in each of their last eight Champions League wins that have come at regulation time.
Atlético Madrid and RB Leipzig bring opposite schools of football philosophy to this match. While Leipzig have been impressing with their attacking displays, Atlético have been their usual selves with dogged displays. It could be an interesting first-ever match between these two sides, although Atlético bring experience at this level. They have reached the quarters of the Champions League for the fifth time in the last seven seasons, while Leipzig are making their first-ever appearance at this level. Atlético’s dogged defensive displays give them a slight edge in this encounter although our pick is in the goals market. We are backing this match to produce under 2.5 goals.