In the Champions League, the champions of Europe’s two strongest leagues, England and Spain, crossed on Tuesday night.
Manchester City hosts Atletico Madrid (LIVE-Ticker >>). The Premier League leaders go to a knockout duel with “Colchoneros” as a minor candidate.
In the parallel match, Valentino Lazaro will host the star team Benfica Lisbon.
First Atletico, then Liverpool
Pep Guardiola faces what could be a defining week of the season. The city coach and his team can expect a heated dance with the very uncomfortable Diego Simeone of Madrid in search of their first Champions League title for the Citizens, ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Liverpool is coming.
In the first division knockout stage, Atletico is a real indicator of the English, who had an easy match with Sporting Lisbon in the last 16.
Guardiola showed great respect to his counterpart Simeone. “He’s the knockout champion. There are a lot of matches in the game and he’s a perfect master of different kinds of games,” the City coach pointed to Simeone’s famous touchline demeanor, but also to his tactical prowess.
Atletico again in Manchester
Meanwhile, Atletico regained fitness in March after a tough sporting phase from December to February and recently celebrated six straight league victories.
Moreover, rivals City United were eliminated by the Madridistas in the Round of 16 of the First Division.
Simeone will be without center back Jose Maria Jimenez in the defensive battle against Manchester’s attack, and the 27-year-old Uruguayan was injured against Alaves (4-1) at the weekend.
Klopp warns: Benfica is very strong
In Tuesday’s second game, the roles were clearly divided. While Benfica is on course to lose again in the Portuguese championship, Liverpool still holds title hopes in all competitions.
Coach Jürgen Klopp, who is meeting the Lisbon team for the first time as a coach, rejects the role of favorite. “People are already seeing us in the semi-finals because it’s Benfica. It’s not for me. Benfica is very strong, especially if you let them,” the German coach warned.
However, the Portuguese should not become a stumbling block for Salah, Mane, Jota and their partners on their way to the desired iteration of the Champions League victory as of 2019.
It’s doubtful whether Benfica ÖFB Lazaro’s player will get minutes against the “Reds” at Estadio da Luz. The 26-year-old winger has not played in the last two league games and has not played in Friday’s 3-2 defeat in Braga. In the round of 16 matches against Ajax Amsterdam, Lazaro was substituted shortly before the end of the match.
The return match will be held on Wednesday next week.
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