The cauldron of the Wanda Metropolitano awaits Celtic on Tuesday night, as Atletico Madrid bid to break hearts in the Spanish capital.
Celtic are winless in Europe this season and are facing up to the possibility of a second successive Champions League campaign without a victory.
Atletico, meanwhile, are yet to taste defeat in the competition this season but two draws means progression to the latter stages is by no means a certainty at this point.
Brendan Rodgers made six changes to the side for Saturday’s 3-0 win at Ross County, with Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley heading the list of star names left to rest.
The two leading lights should return on Tuesday and they are likely to be joined by right-back Alistair Johnston. However, Reo Hatate and Liel Abada remain out for the visitors.
Diego Simeone was less eager to rest players, a decision which didn’t pay dividends, as the side went down 2-1 to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Saturday.
The bulk of the starting XI is likely to stay the same but Marcos Llorente, Jose Gimenez and Saul Niguez, are three players pushing for a return to the line-up.
Atletico Madrid are heavy 1/4 favourites to win, in a result that would likely extinguish any chances of Celtic progressing into the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
Celtic can be backed at 17/2 to blow the group wide open and claim an unlikely win at the Wanda Metropolitano, while it’s 4/1 for the result in Glasgow – a draw – to be seen again.
That game ended 2-2, and it’s 20/1 for history to repeat itself on Tuesday.
Atletico Madrid to win and both teams to score @ 2/1
Famed for their defensive diligence under Simeone, Atletico have struggled to protect Jan Oblak’s goal this season. Los Colchoneros have conceded five times in three group games this season, with Celtic scoring twice in the first half hour in Scotland.
More predictably, Celtic have been leaky in Europe under Rodgers, conceding twice in all three group games.
Both teams have scored in all three of Atletico and Celtic’s group games and with Celtic’s Champions League – and European – hopes hanging in the balance, they should be going out all guns blazing in Spain.
Atletico should have too much in the end, though.
Antoine Griezmann to score first @ 10/3
Atletico have scored four first-half goals in the Champions League this season, with Antoine Griezmann responsible for half (two) of them.
The Frenchman was first on the scoresheet for Simeone’s side in the reverse fixture, cancelling out Furuhashi’s early opener, and he has got the first goal for Atletico four times this season.
The home side should be pushing for an early opener, and Griezmann’s big-game capabilities stand him in good stead to be the one to breach the Celtic backline.
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