Will Spanish Eyes be Smiling or Crying?

Can you imagine a Champions League last eight that doesn’t have any Spanish clubs in it? That’s possible as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are involved in tight last 16 ties this week. Barcelona are already out, will they both follow them? Then again, it might be a bad week for Italy.

The other two ties see defending champions Bayern Munich and Manchester City with good leads. Both should qualify, so let’s look at the other two ties and give a few betting tips.

Real Madrid v Atalanta – Tuesday 16 March (8pm KO)

Real Madrid have been knocked out of the Champions League in each of the last two seasons. 2019/20 saw Manchester City beat them but the Spanish side have a good chance of success here. A late goal gave them a 1-0 win in the first leg.

They come into this game on an eight match unbeaten run. The weekend saw them make ground on Atletico, but they had to come from behind to beat Elche 2-1. At least we know that Karim Benzema is in good form. He scored both the goals on Saturday. That’s three vital goals in two games after getting a late equalizer at Atletico Madrid.

Real have had a strange Champions League campaign this season. At one stage it looked as if they might be eliminated but ended up winning the group. They lost home and away to Shakhtar Donetsk but got three wins and a draw against Borussia Monchengladbach and Inter Milan. Home form had seen one win in seven home Champions League games before wins over Borussia and Inter.

Atalanta seem to have turned over a new leaf. Their games used to be full of goals at both ends but not so much now. In fact, Atalanta are yet to concede an away goal in this season’s Champions League. Not bad as the three games played include trips to Liverpool and Ajax. The Italians have won their last five away Champions League matches, so could well pose Real a few problems.

The Italians had been unbeaten in 14 away games before a recent 1-0 loss to Inter. They are the final Serie A side left in the Champions League. Atalanta will have to come forward to try and get back into this tie. As they do that, gaps may appear at the back giving Real chances. A bet on both teams to score has odds of 8/13 at Bet365.

Chelsea v Atletico Madrid – Wednesday 17 March (8pm KO)

Chelsea are still to lose under new coach Thomas Tuchel. They have played a total of 13 games since their last loss and have a 1-0 lead going into this second leg. Unlike their opponents, Chelsea will have home advantage for this second leg.

The home side drew 0-0 at Leeds United on Saturday, their fifth straight clean sheet. They have played 11 games under Tuchel and only conceded two goals and one of those was a Rudiger own goal.

It seems the days of exciting Chelsea games full of goals are over. The last eight played have all had under 2.5 goals scored in them. Five would have seen an under 1.5 goals bet be a winner. Another tight match looks likely on Tuesday.

Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 at Getafe on Saturday but still lead La Liga by six points from Real Madrid. A win for Barcelona over bottom club Huesca, will reduce that lead to just four. Atletico are unbeaten in four games since the first leg defeat. Two have been drawn though and the La Liga leaders have only won two of their last seven competitive fixtures.

Four of their last seven away games in the Champions League have been lost. They did manage to win at Anfield last season when knocking Liverpool out. A bet on under 2.5 goals looks a wager that could be successful here. That has odds of 4/7 at Paddy Power.