Bayer Leverkusen will host Atletico Madrid in the crucial first leg of the Champions League round of 16 clash at Bay Arena on Tuesday. Though both teams are not playing their best in the respective domestic leagues this season, their form in Champions League have been good so far.
Bayer did not lose a single game in the group stages despite playing against some strong teams like Tottenham Hotspur, Monaco and CSKA Moscow. Finishing second in the group will give them huge confidence when they take on Atletico Madrid, who topped the group, which includes Bayern Munich.
Atletico Madrid, under manager Diego Simeone, have gone beyond the round of 16 in the last three seasons of Champions League.
Though Atletico Madrid might not be playing the tight football they are known for, Simeone's side is still the favourite going into the match. However, Atletico Madrid have to do without the services of Tiago Mendes, Diego Godin, Juanfran, who are nursing injuries. However, they will count on players like Fernando Torres, Antoine Griezmann to come up with goods.
Simeone is aware of the tough job at hand against a quality unit like Bayer.
"Leverkusen are a very strong side, particularly down the wings with Karim Bellarabi and Kai Havertz. Up front they have Javier 'Chicharito' Hernández, who is in fine form. However they line up, they will be looking to make life as tough as possible for us. We're playing against a team with great intensity, but we have great intensity too. Passion is very important in football, so I'm intrigued to see how this tie unfolds," UEFA official website quoted Simeone as saying.
Bayer have not done well in the Bundesliga this season at the eighth position. But, they will try to make most out of this competition, and give it all against the Spanish opponent. Bayer looked good in their last two matches against Hamburger SV and FC Augsburg.
Leverkusen manager Roger Schmidt said he is looking forward to the match.
"We go into the game with a lot of confidence – we're looking forward to it. As far as I recall, we were unlucky to lose to Atlético at this stage two seasons ago. We need to make sure we make the right decisions in the final third in order to get a positive result. In games like this, it's very important to have a player who can stick the ball in the back of the net, and Javier Hernández has been doing that for us of late," Schmidt said.
When to Watch Live
Bayer Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid Champions League clash is set for 7.45pm GMT, 8.45pm CET, 2.45pm ET, 1.15am IST start.
Live Streaming and TV information
Spain: TV: Antena 3, Tv3
Germany: TV: Sky Sports 3. Live Streaming: Sky Go
UK: TV: BT Sport 3. Live Streaming: Watch BT Sport.
USA: TV: Fox Sports 2. Live Streaming: Fox Soccer 2 Go.
Canada: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
France: TV: Bein Sports 2. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Live Score: UEFA official website