Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona Pick to Win

Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona – Champions League Match Preview, Vicente Calderon, Madrid Spain 2:45 PM EST Wednesday April 9, 2014

By Jason Green, Soccer Handicapper,

Match Odds: Atletico Madrid 3.20 / Barcelona 3.50 / Draw 2.15
Moneyline: Atletico Madrid +220 / Barcelona+115 / Draw +250
Over/Under: 2.5 goals

NOTE: Both of these teams are in action in league play this weekend so all standings and stats are as of April 4th. Also check back to injury reports for any big injuries for the match.

Could Barcelona be jettisoned from the Champions League in the quarterfinals? Well, odds makers don’t think so, as even though they played to a pretty surprising 1-1 draw facing Atletico Madrid at home in the first leg they are the betting favorites in the 2nd leg to advance to the semifinals of the Champions League.

Atletico Madrid is the underdog in this match even though they are in the lead in Spain’s La Liga and they have won 5 straight league matches. They have the fewest losses in the league and they win with a defense that has conceded the fewest goals in La Liga play.

Since shockingly losing to Real Valladolid Barca has reeled off 4 straight league wins, but they are at Camp Nou any longer and need to win to Madrid to make the last 4 of the Champions League.

Barcelona played their style in the first leg of this tie dominating the time of possession (71% to 29%0 and they had more shots than Atletico (19 to 6), but they only could manage a draw.

Can the great defense of Atletico thwart the Barca attack for another match? While that is a tall task earlier this season at home Atletico played to a 0-0 draw against Barca, so maybe they have a chance.

Neymar scored the lone goal for Barca in the first leg and if the Madrid defense can keep he and Messi in check they have a legit chance to move on.

Diego Costa leads Atletico with 25 goals on the season, but it was the other Diego, in Ribas, who scored the lone goal in the Barca match. Still, while Barcelona played good defense their offense stalled, which is a concern heading into this match.

Messi must come up with some of his usual magic and Barca will be well served if they can get on the scoreboard first. They gave up the first goal in the first leg, but after scoring the equalizer they had control of the ball for the remainder of the match.

Not only is this match a HUGE one, but also they face each other again in Barcelona in the season finale, which may decide La Liga play.

Atletico G Thibaut Courtois and the defense will have to play another great 90 minutes on defense to move on. The squad let Barca play their match in the first leg, but did not make mistakes and that will be another key in this match.

In both matches these teams have faced each other this season Barca has had the control, but Atletico played calm and controlled and did not make errors, which Barca always pounces on.

Atletico had 6 yellow cards in the first leg and they may be physical in the 2nd leg to throw Barca off their game.

In the last 4 times these 2 teams have met the outcome has been a draw.

The Atletico defense has only conceded 3 goals in their last 7 matches.

Barcelona Recent Form

3/16/2014 Barcelona 7 Osasuna 0 (La Liga)
3/23/2014 Real Madrid 3 Barcelona 4 (La Liga)
3/26/2014 Barcelona 3 Celta Vigo 0 (La Liga)
3/29/2014 Espanyol 0 Barcelona 1 (La Liga)
4/1/2014 Barcelona 1 Atletico Madrid 1 (Champions League)

Atletico Madrid Recent Form

3/15/2014 Atletico Madrid 1 Espanyol 0 (La Liga)
3/23/2014 Real Betis 0 Atletico Madrid 2 (La Liga)
3/26/2014 Atletico Madrid 1 Granada 0 (La Liga)
3/29/2014 Athletic Bilbao 1 Atletico Madrid 2 (La Liga)
4/1/2014 Barcelona 1 Atletico Madrid 1 (Champions League)

Jason’s Atletico Madrid/Barcelona Pick: This one is a tough one to call, as Barca is the favorite, but Atletico is one team that seems to have their number. However, on such a big stage as the Champions League quarterfinals, and the 2nd leg no less, I have to go with Barca. They have done it before and they will do it again and beat Atletico 2-1 and advance to the CL semifinals.