The early departure of Timo Werner is certainly a huge loss for Leipzig. Their top scorer last season has joined Chelsea, which made him unable to complete their campaign in UCL. His replacement from RB Salzburg, Hwang Hee Chan is not eligible yet for this season Champions League. It will be a tough test for Julian Nagelsmann to prepare and prove themselves that Leipzig is more than just Werner on the team when they are taking on Atletico Madrid in Lisbon this week. Los Choconeros are certainly the more experienced side and such might be a decisive factor on the pitch later.
Both teams’ previous matches
Leipzig’s last competitive game was on June for the final match day of Bundesliga. They crushed Augsburg 2-1 on the road. Timo Werner’s brace were the one which made the difference in this game. The host could only respond once by Ruben Vargas’ penalty. The victory was not a vital one as they have sealed one place on the top four.
Atletico, on the other hand, were only held in a 1-1 draw in the last game of La Liga at home. Koke gave the lead for them first before the former Manchester United and Sunderland man, Adnan Januzaj netted an equaliser.
Julian Nagelsmann seems to find the proper formation for this fixture. His 4-4-2 can be solid and fluid when necessary. It can transform to 4-2-2-2 with Dani Olmo and Emile Forsberg are pushed forward to provide either long cross or through ball for the duo frontmen, the Czech international Patrick Schick and Christopher Nkunku who could step in to cover Werner’s absence. On the injury table, Yussuf Poulsen, Ibrahima Konate and Hwang Hee-Chan are missing out of this game.
Diego Simeone has always been in favour of 4-4-2 formation. The front two will be quite hard to pick as Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata, Joao Felix and even Marcos Llorente have performed quite well this season. Yet, considering the necessity to score, the former Real Madrid and Juventus man, Alvaro Morata is likely to be the main option alongside Marcos Llorente. In Simeone’s squad, he has to lose Angel Correa and Sime Vraljsko due to being positively diagnosed for covid-19.
Players to watch
Leipzig’s main scorer is gone now. Yet, there are actually some other key frontmen they can rely on such as Patrick Schick, the versatile Christopher Nkunku and the La Masia graduate Dani Olmo. They might be not as fast as Werner but Nagelsmann surely have considered certain tactics to accommodate their potentials.
Meanwhile, Diego Simeone has got a newly transformed versatile frontman, Marcos Llorente. The former Real Madrid man has scored two goals and one assist in Champions League. Some other notable figures to watch are Thomas Partey, Saul Niguez and the Spanish international Alvaro Morata.
Leipzig vs Atletico Prediction
The missing of Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen upfront is still considered as a huge blow for the German side, not to mention the experience of dealing with a high-tension game in the crucial stage. Simeone’s men have the advantage on this situation. The match of round of 16 was the solid proof. A win for Los Rojiblancos is more probable.
This clash is considerably expected to be even. Atletico Madrid are backed to win at 2.40, whereas RB Leipzig’s win market is at 3.15. The odds for the draw result are only at 3.25.