Champions League preview: Atletico seek revenge against Real Madrid as Juventus travel to Monaco

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Champions League preview: Atletico seek revenge against Real Madrid as Juventus travel to Monaco

Jack Rathborn

The final four is here with the Champions League at its most compelling for years.

Despite failing to dazzle yet, Real Madrid remain on course to become the first side to ever retain the title, yet they meet city rivals Atletico in the semi-finals.

Diego Simeone’s side are hungrier than ever to banish the memories of two devastating final defeats to Los Blancos and clinch their maiden Champions League.

Monaco continue their incredible journey as one of Europe’s most thrilling sides to watch and will relish their underdog status once more against a Juventus side that is now dangerously close to being complete in all departments.

Both ties guarantee drama with outstanding quality, potential and variety on display, let’s take a look at how they could unfold.

Monaco vs Juventus: Monaco to win either half at EVENS with Ladbrokes AND BTTS at 1.7 with Ladbrokes

Mbappe

Football Soccer - Atalanta v Juventus - Italian Serie A - Atleti Azzurri d'Italia Stadium, Bergamo, Italy - 28/04/17 Juventus' Dani Alves celebrates after scoring second goal. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

Atalanta gave Juventus a conveniently timed reality check last Friday by unsettling their usually watertight defence.

Alejandro Gomez’s craft and La Dea’s speed and movement in the final third made it an uncomfortable night for Massimiliano Allegri’s side.

Sami Khedira’s absence through suspension will be a blow, despite Claudio Marchisio being an outstanding replacement, but the inferior chemistry with Miralem Pjanic in the midfield could damage the Old Lady’s ability to control the tempo of the game.

The German’s strength will be sorely missed too, as Les Rouges et Blancs’ muscle provides Marchisio and Pjanic with a mismatch, which leads us to the first tip of Leonardo Jardim’s side to win either half – yes, it’s come off multiple times for us in the Champions League this season, so why shy away now.

That tip comes despite the Bianconeri letting in just two goals in this season’s competition to date and five consecutive clean sheets.

Djibril Sidibe is out injured again, which means Nabil Dirar continues at right-back and with Alex Sandro and Mario Mandzukic combining, Juve should have some joy in behind Bernardo Silva.

Monaco remain one of Europe’s most prolific sides though, which means BTTS at 1.7 with Ladbrokes seems a safe play, at least at the Stade Louis II.

Back it here.

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: BTTS at 10/11 with Ladbrokes

Marcelo

This one is set up beautifully for Atleti, who arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu after demolishing Las Palmas 5-0 at the weekend.

El Cholo will have his side pumped up for this, tapping into the hurt from last year’s final.

Zinedine Zidane’s side arrive here merely on talent alone, Bayern Munich self destructed in the first leg of the quarter-final, while refereeing decisions aided Los Blancos in the return leg after extra-time.

The format of two legs often leads to cautiousness in the opener, yet Simeone should be quietly plotting a first leg lead given Real’s ability to earn a result back at the Calderon.

The vulnerability at right-back, with Sime Vrsjalko, Jose Gimenez and Juanfran all out, means Marcelo, in outstanding form, is likely to cause havoc down Real’s left side though.

So while the away win is tempting, BTTS is a safer play at 10/11 with Real’s fragility at the back in recent weeks.

Back it here.