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Real Madrid’s dominance in this competition has certainly depleted in the last few seasons, and it’s no surprise that it’s coincided with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus as after four wins in five years, they’ve now not made it past this stage in either of the last two seasons, and even this year they were far from convincing in their group.
This is the first time Real have played Atalanta in their club’s history, so there’s nothing to go off in that regard, though form suggests this will be an extremely tough game for the visitors.
Atalanta came to the fore a few seasons ago and have managed to prove their qualification for Europe in 2016/17 was no fluke, and they’ll be looking to make the quarters here for a second successive season.
Qualifying from a group including Liverpool and Ajax is no mean feat, as they beat both sides on the road to finish second in the group, so they’ve proved they can more than take it to the best teams in the world, and domestically have been one of the toughest teams to beat in Serie A.
La Dea have now lost just once of their last 20 matches in all competitions, a run dating back to the beginning of December, as they beat all of Napoli (twice), Lazio, Milan, Roma, Fiorentina and Ajax in that time, so Los Blancos certainly have a tough draw on their hands.
Atalanta To Beat Real Madrid
Los Blancos sit second in La Liga, three points behind their city rivals Atletico, though their local rivals do have a game in hand over them.
That gap has shortened considerably in recent weeks as Real have now won four matches on the bounce, though in truth those results should very much be expected having all come against bottom half sides, with their two away wins coming narrowly to the bottom two sides in the league.
There are reasons that Atalanta go into this as favourites, and one of those reasons is Real’s injury list.
Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal and Rodrygo are among the notable absentees, though the biggest loss could be that of Sergio Ramos.
Astonishingly, Madrid have won just two of their last 10 matches in which the Spaniard hasn’t featured, with one of the exceptions coming against Club Brugge.
There’s no better time for Atalanta to face this Real Madrid side who have yet to fully replace Cristiano Ronaldo, so although they go into the game as favourites, we’re more than happy to get behind them at an odds-against price.