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Atalanta v Real Madrid: UEFA Champions League background, form guide, previous meetings

Atalanta are making their second successive round of 16 appearance as they take on 13-time European champions Real Madrid.

Real Madrid are aiming to win their 14th European title
Real Madrid are aiming to win their 14th European title AFP via Getty Images

Atalanta are making their second successive round of 16 appearance as they take on 13-time European champions Real Madrid, who have lost at this stage in each of their last two UEFA Champions League campaigns.

• The Italian club won three of their six Group D games this season, sealing a knockout berth with a 1-0 win at Ajax in their final fixture, although a 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool on Matchday 3 – Atalanta's heaviest European loss – was instrumental in placing them second behind the English club.

• In contrast Madrid recovered from taking only one point from their first two games to finish first in Group B, winning three of their next four matches including a 2-0 home victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 6 that sealed their progress as section winners.

• This is the teams' first meeting, and only Atalanta's third game against a Spanish club in UEFA competition.

Form guide
Atalanta

• Atalanta's record in Group D this season was W3 D2 L1, all three of those wins coming away from home – at Midjtylland (4-0), Liverpool (2-0) and, decisively, Ajax (1-0). In Bergamo, they drew 2-2 with Ajax – a game in which they had been two goals down – and Midjylland (1-1) either side of the 5-0 loss against Liverpool.

• Atalanta have won only two of their seven home UEFA Champions League matches (D3), losing 2-1 against Shakhtar Donetsk in Milan on Matchday 2 last season and suffering that record defeat by Liverpool in Bergamo, where they are yet to win in the competition. They have, however, suffered only three defeats in their 24 home European matches overall (W12 D9).

• Debutants in 2019/20, this is Atalanta's second successive UEFA Champions League appearance after they finished third in Serie A last season.

• Initially it appeared as if the Bergamo club's first taste of the competition would prove brief, Atalanta losing their first three UEFA Champions League matches last season, against Dinamo Zagreb (0-4 a), Shakhtar Donetsk (1-2 h) and Manchester City (1-5 a). However, a point at home against City on Matchday 4 (1-1) proved the catalyst for a remarkable revival, the Italian side beating Dinamo 2-0 at home and Shakhtar 3-0 away to snatch second place in the group behind City.

• Even better was to follow in the round of 16, Atalanta beating Valencia 4-1 at home and 4-3 away with Josip Iličić becoming the first player to score four times away from home in a UEFA Champions League knockout match in the latter fixture.

• Atalanta looked set to continue their magical run thanks to Mario Pašalić's first-half goal in their quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain, but the French side struck twice in the closing moments to end their adventure.

• The win at Ajax on Matchday 6 was Atalanta's 50th European match; this is their eighth campaign in continental competition. They reached the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals in 1987/88 and the UEFA Cup quarter-finals three years later.

• The Italian club have lost only six of their last 29 European games (W14 D9).

• Last season's tie against Valencia is Atalanta's only previous experience of Spanish opponents.

Real Madrid

Butragueño on Real Madrid-Atalanta tie
Butragueño on Real Madrid-Atalanta tie

• Madrid collected six of their ten points in this season's group stage against Internazionale, who they beat 3-2 at home and 2-0 away. They took only one point from their first two Group B games, losing 3-2 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk before late goals from Karim Benzema (87) and Casemiro (90+3) rescued a 2-2 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 2. The wins against Inter were followed by a 2-0 loss at Shakhtar, but Mönchengladbach were then beaten by the same scoreline in the final round of group games.

• Madrid therefore finished first in their group for only the second time in the last five seasons but for the 17th time in all, second only to Barcelona (21).

• Spanish champions for a record-extending 34th time in 2019/20, this is Madrid's 25th UEFA Champions League campaign – a joint record along with Barcelona. They have qualified for the knockout rounds in all of their 25 seasons, also a competition best.

• This is the 13-time champions' 51st European Cup campaign, more than any other side.

• In 2019/20, Zinédine Zidane's side were runners-up in their section behind eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain, finishing on 11 points, five fewer than Paris. Their campaign came to an end in the round of 16 as they lost 2-1 home and away to Manchester City.

• Having reached the semi-finals or better for eight successive seasons between 2010/11 and 2017/18, Madrid have therefore lost in the last 16 in each of the last two campaigns, bowing out against Ajax in 2018/19. That ended a run of eight straight last-16 victories; their overall record at this stage is W9 L8.

• Madrid have won ten of their last 11 games against Italian clubs, the exception a 3-1 home defeat by Juventus – who they had beaten 4-1 in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff – in the 2017/18 quarter-final second leg. Madrid nevertheless squeezed through having won 3-0 in Turin.

• The 2-0 success at Inter on Matchday 4 this season was a fifth straight win in Italy for Madrid, who had previously gone eight matches there without a victory (D4 L4).

• That 2018 tie against Juventus is Madrid's last two-legged contest with a Serie A side; their overall record in such contests is W13 L9. They have won the last three, against Juve, Roma (2-0 a, 2-0 h) in the 2015/16 round of 16 and Napoli at the same stage in 2016/17 (3-1 h, 3-1 a), after a run of eight consecutive two-legged knockout losses against Italian opposition.

• Madrid have won only four of their last ten UEFA Champions League matches (D2 L4). They have lost seven of their last 17 (W7 D3).

• The Spanish side have won 17 of their last 29 European away matches, losing seven.

• Benzema's goal on Matchday 2 means he has matched the record of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in scoring in 16 successive UEFA Champions League campaigns.

Links and trivia

Watch classic Real Madrid goals
Watch classic Real Madrid goals

• Zidane played in Italy for Juventus between 1996 and 2001. He faced Atalanta four times during that spell (W2 D1 L1), scoring twice in a 3-1 win 1997/98.

• Have played in Spain:
Luis Muriel (Granada 2010/11, Sevilla 2017–18)
Cristiano Piccini (Betis 2014–17, Valencia 2018–20)
Johan Mojica (Rayo Vallecano 2013/14 & 2016/17, Real Valladolid 2014–16 loan, Girona 2017–20)
Mario Pašalić (Elche 2014/15 loan)

• Muriel faced Madrid twice with Sevilla, his team losing 5-0 in Madrid and winning 3-2 at home.

• Piccini lost all four games against Madrid while playing in Spain, his teams scoring two goals while conceding 15; he was sent off in Betis's 2-1 Liga defeat at the Santiago Bernabéu on 12 March 2017.

• Mojica came on as a late substitute in Girona's 2-1 Liga win against Madrid in October 2017.

• Pašalić's Elche lost 5-1 away and 2-0 at home to Madrid during his season in Spain.

• Rafael Tolói and Casemiro were team-mates at São Paulo in 2012.

• International team-mates:
Mario Pašalić & Luka Modrić (Croatia)
Robin Gosens & Toni Kroos (Germany)
Ruslan Malinovskyi & Andriy Lunin (Ukraine)

• Remo Freuler scored in Switzerland's 3-3 UEFA Nations League draw against Toni Kroos' Germany on 13 October 2020.

• Freuler also found the net in a 1-1 draw against a Spain side captained by Sergio Ramos on 14 November 2020.

• Ruslan Malinovskyi scored Ukraine's goal from the penalty spot in a 2-1 UEFA Nations League defeat against Kroos' Germany on 10 October 2020.

• Ramos converted two penalties in Spain's 3-3 friendly draw with Russia on 14 November 2017; Aleksei Miranchuk scored for the home side in St Petersburg.