Injury-ravaged Real Madrid hope to keep Atalanta at bay when they travel to Bergamo for the opening leg of their UEFA Champions League encounter when the round of 16 gets underway.
Los Blancos have pieced together a four-win streak in La Liga ahead of Wednesday’s clash despite losing a wealth of their regular starters, most recently edging Real Valladolid 1-0 away.
What TV Channel is Atalanta-Real Madrid on?
Atalanta are targeting back-to-back quarter-final appearances in their first two Champions League campaigns, and their first-leg clash with Real airs via TUDN and UniMas from 3 p.m. ET. You can live stream Champions League matches on fuboTV.
How to Watch Atalanta vs. Real Madrid
When: Wednesday, February 24
Where: Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo, Italy
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard, Marcelo and captain Sergio Ramos are each among the absentees, with Zinedine Zidane naming only 11 senior outfielders in his squad for the trip to Italy:
Dani Carvajal, Federico Valverde, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola and Rodrygo are also out of action for Wednesday’s visitors, leaving Zidane with a skeleton crew for their return to Europe.
Atalanta will consider this a prime opportunity to get the early advantage over Real, who recovered from a nightmarish start in Europe to top Group B in their final match of the first round. La Dea—who have lost only once in 20 games ahead of this midweek clash—settled for second behind Liverpool in Group D but did celebrate a 2-0 victory at Anfield in the process.
Of all Real’s injuries, Benzema stands as the most significant considering his contribution of four goals to their Champions League campaign; no other player in the squad has more than one. Of those left fit, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Vinicius Junior are the only players who have scored in European competition this term, with Mariano Diaz likely to lead the line in Benzema’s stead.
Three clean sheets in as many games will have boosted the Spaniards’ confidence as they visit one of the best attacking teams in Europe. Atalanta’s 53 Serie A goals this season is second only to Inter Milan and would make them the top scorers in La Liga, four of which came in Sunday’s scintillating win over Napoli:
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side have scored at least three times in each of their last three home outings. However, they’ve also kept just one clean sheet in nine games at Gewiss Stadium thus far in 2021.
Their midweek guests will cling onto that statistic as Real seek to gain some foothold while their injury list is so extensive. Zidane hopes to have a host of absentees back for the second leg on March 16, with Ramos now aiming to return from his meniscus injury around that date, per AS.
Atalanta are at a rare moment in their history as they meet 13-time European champions Real Madrid for the first time—and as favorites, no less. Los Blancos were ousted from this competition during the last 16 in each of the past two seasons, with the odds firmly against Zidane in his hope to avoid a familiar repeat.