Callum Hudson-Odoi and Bayer Leverkusen are targeting their first points in UEFA Champions League Group B as Atletico Madrid and Antoine Griezmann come to town on Tuesday (kick-off: 9pm CEST).
A late arrival in the transfer window on loan from Chelsea, Hudson-Odoi was handed his first start for Leverkusen in their opening group fixture at Club Brugge. It followed an assist off the bench on his debut against Freiburg the previous weekend. The England international looks to have already found his place in Gerardo Seoane’s side, starting again in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Hertha Berlin. Patrik Schick and Kerem Demirbay were the two goalscorers for the second straight matchday. However, Exequiel Palacios hobbled off in Berlin and is out with a muscular injury. Piero Hincapie was one of the standout performers in Belgium on his Champions League debut and is expected to form a three-man defence for last season’s third-placed Bundesliga side, who also boast the rapid wing duo of Jeremie Frimpong and Moussa Diaby.
Griezmann scored the winner for Atletico 11 minutes into added time as they beat Porto 2-1 on Matchday 1 – with all three goals coming beyond the 90th. Diaby’s France international teammate made his now traditional appearance off the bench once the clock hit 60, so expect the same at the BayArena. Joao Felix is therefore expected to lead the line alongside Alvaro Morata after Diego Simeone rotated for Saturday’s 4-1 win over Celta Vigo. Former Borussia Dortmund man Axel Witsel has been filling in at centre-half of late amidst a number of defensive absentees.
- Summer loanee Hudson-Odoi was part of the Chelsea side who won the Champions League in 2021, knocking out Atletico in the round of 16.
- Bayer won 2-1 at home in their last meeting with Atletico in the 2019/20 group stage.
- Leverkusen beat Real Betis 4-0 the last time they faced Spanish opposition, in last season’s UEFA Europa League group stage.
- Los Colchoneros were beaten 4-0 at Bayern Munich on their last visit to Germany in the 2020/21 groups. That took their recent record away at Bundesliga clubs to seven defeats in their last eight.
- The Madrid club have managed just one clean sheet in 21 UEFA fixtures away in Germany (1-0 win vs. Carl Zeiss Jena in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1962).
- Witsel made 145 appearances for Dortmund, while Matheus Cunha played a combined 92 times for RB Leipzig and Hertha, including three goals against Leverkusen.
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) – Tah, Tapsoba, Hincapie – Frimpong, Aranguiz, Andrich, Bakker – Diaby, Schick, Hudson-Odoi
Out: Adli (collarbone), Bellarabi (knee), Lunev (thigh), Palacios (muscular), Wirtz (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane
Atletico: Oblak – Hermoso, Witsel, Mandava – Molina, Niguez, Llorente, Koke (c), Carrasco – Felix, Morata
Out: Reguilon (groin), Savic (muscular)
Doubtful: Gimenez (back)
Coach: Diego Simeone