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

Real Madrid hold the edge as Atalanta travel to Spain, although the Merengues will know to take nothing for granted despite a 1-0 away win.

Real Madrid's  Casemiro pursues Atalanta's Albanian defender Berat Djimsiti
Real Madrid's Casemiro pursues Atalanta's Albanian defender Berat Djimsiti AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will know to take nothing for granted as Atalanta come to Spain looking to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit in the second leg of their round of 16 tie.

• The first leg was the teams' first meeting and Madrid's 100th match in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, making them the first club to reach that landmark. Atalanta played the majority of the game with ten men after Remo Freuler's 17th-minute red card, although it took until four minutes from time for Madrid to make their numerical advantage count thanks to a Ferland Mendy goal – his first in UEFA club competition.

• 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.

• Atalanta 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. 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, although they turned the tables with a memorable 2-0 success at Anfield.

Form guide

Highlights: Atalanta 0-1 Real Madrid (2 mins)
Highlights: Atalanta 0-1 Real Madrid (2 mins)

Real Madrid
• 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 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 11 of their last 12 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.

• That defeat by Juve is Madrid's only reverse in their last eight home games against Italian visitors (W6 D1).

Real Madrid reach 100 knockout games
Real Madrid reach 100 knockout games

• 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 five of their last 11 UEFA Champions League matches (D2 L4). They have lost seven of their last 18 (W8 D3).

• Despite this season's victories against Inter and Mönchengladbach, Madrid have won only three of their last nine home European games (D2 L4).

• 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.

• Madrid lost on aggregate the last time they recorded an away first-leg win in UEFA competition, against Ajax at this stage of the UEFA Champions League two seasons ago (2-1 a, 1-4 h). That was only their second defeat in the 35th UEFA competition tie in which they won the first leg away from home, and the first since losing to Odense in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup third round (3-2 a, 0-2 h).

• This is the eighth time Madrid have won the away first leg 1-0 in UEFA competition, and the first since they beat Vitesse in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup third round (1-0 h). They last won a European Cup first leg 1-0 away against Poland's Górnik Zabrze in the 1988/89 third round (3-2 h).

• Madrid's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
5-6 v Crvena zvezda, 1974/75 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final
3-1 v Juventus, 1986/87 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round
1-3 v Bayern München, 2011/12 UEFA Champions League semi-final
5-3 v Atlético de Madrid, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final

Watch every Atalanta group stage goal
Watch every Atalanta group stage goal

• Atalanta's record in Group D this season was W3 D2 L1, all three of those wins coming away from home – at Midtjylland (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 Midtjylland (1-1) either side of the 5-0 loss against Liverpool.

• Atalanta have won their last five European away games, scoring 14 goals and conceding three, and eight of the last 12 (D1 L3).

• 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.

• This is only Atalanta's 52nd European match and 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 seven of their last 30 European games (W14 D9).

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

• This is the first time Atalanta have lost in the home first leg in UEFA competition.

• Atalanta have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.

All of Real Madrid's group stage goals
All of Real Madrid's group stage goals

Links and trivia
• 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)
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.

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

• 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.

Latest news

Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Iván Morante, Pablo Ramón
Out: Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan), Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal, loan)

• The first-leg win at Atalanta was Real Madrid's fifth successive victory in all competitions; they drew their next two 1-1 before two Karim Benzema goals in the final 20 minutes earned a 2-1 comeback victory at home to Elche on Saturday.

• Madrid needed an 89th-minute Vinícius Júnior equaliser to rescue a draw at home to Real Sociedad on 1 March, before Benzema's strike two minutes from time snatched a point at Liga leaders Atlético de Madrid six days later.

• A 2-1 loss at home to Levante on 30 January is Madrid's only defeat in their last 17 Liga matches (W12 D4).

• Benzema has scored seven goals in his last seven Liga matches, including five in his last four.

• Sergio Ramos returned to play an hour against Elche, his first appearance since undergoing surgery on a knee injury that had kept him out since 14 January.

• Dani Carvajal made his first appearance since 2 January in a 2-0 home win against Valencia on 14 February after recovering from a hamstring injury, but suffered a recurrence of the problem and was substituted after 28 minutes. He has not played since.

• Having been sidelined between 28 November and 30 December with a muscle injury, Eden Hazard picked up a thigh injury in training and had not played since that loss to Levante before coming on as a substitute on Saturday.

• Marcelo picked up a calf injury in Madrid's 2-0 defeat of Getafe on 9 February and has not played since although he was an unused substitute against both Real Sociedad and Atlético.

• Álvaro Odriozola missed the weekend win with a knock while Mariano Díaz, whose last appearance came on 1 March, has been sidelined by a hamstring injury.

• Rodrygo suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-0 victory against Granada on 23 December, returning as a substitute in the draw against Real Sociedad.

• Éder Militão, whose last appearance also came against Levante, a game in which he was sent off, has not featured since due to an adductor problem suffered in training although he was an unused substitute at Atlético and against Elche.

• Benzema was out between 14 February and 7 March with an adductor injury suffered in training.

UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Joakim Mæhle (Genk), Boško Šutalo
Out: Fabio Depaoli, Alejandro Gómez (Sevilla), Johan Mojica (Elche, loan), Cristiano Piccini (Valencia, end of loan)

• Atalanta's four-game run of Serie A victories was ended by a 1-0 loss at leaders Internazionale on 8 March. They were 3-1 winners at home to Spezia on Friday with Mario Pašalić scoring twice.

• Luis Muriel also found the net, his 12th goal in his last 16 Serie A games, none of them lasting 90 minutes and nine 45 minutes or less.

• Muriel is now third among Serie A's leading scorers this season despite never completing 90 minutes in any of his 25 Serie A appearances; 16 of those appearances have lasted 45 minutes or less.

• Atalanta have scored 63 goals in their 27 league games this season, level with only Inter as the most in Serie A this season.

• The loss at Inter was Atalanta's first away defeat in all competitions since going down 4-1 at Napoli on 17 October. All five of their defeats between those losses came at home; their away record this season is W10 D5 L2.

• Atalanta were 2-0 winners at Sampdoria on 28 February before a 5-1 home victory against Crotone on 3 March.

• Robin Gosens scored in both those victories, making it nine league goals for the season – matching his total for 2019/20.

• José Luis Palomino scored his first goal of the campaign against Crotone.

• The Orobici have reached the Coppa Italia final, beating Cagliari (3-1), Lazio (3-2) and Napoli 3-1 on aggregate in the two-legged semi-final (0-0 away, 3-1 at home). Atalanta will face Juventus in the final on 18 May.

• Hans Hateboer has not played since the 3-0 win at AC Milan on 23 January due to a fractured foot.

• Duván Zapata went off against Inter with a thigh injury but came on as a substitute in Friday's win.

• Boško Šutalo has not played since 21 February with an ankle injury, although he was an unused substitute in the first leg against Real Madrid.