Last season’s UEFA Champions League runners-up have a slender lead to protect in Spain – will they reach the last eight? We look ahead to Wednesday’s game with our Atlético Madrid vs Inter prediction and preview.

Atlético Madrid vs Inter Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Inter Milan beat Atlético Madrid in 38.6% of the Opta supercomputer’s match simulations, losing in 34.2%. Inter are given a 75.9% chance of reaching the quarter-finals.
  • Since beating Liverpool 3-2 in March 2020, Atlético have only scored three goals in eight matches in the Champions League knockout stages, failing to net in their last three.
  • This will be Diego Simeone’s 50th home game as a manager in the Champions League. He has lost just five of his first 49, with no boss suffering fewer losses in their first half-century.

Match Preview

Sitting fourth in La Liga, just two points clear of Athletic Bilbao, Atlético Madrid have a battle on their hands to ensure their place in the UEFA Champions League for next season. Their hopes for this campaign suffered a blow when they went down 1-0 to 2022-23 runners-up Inter Milan in the first leg of their last-16 tie, leaving them needing a rescue act at the Cívitas Metropolitano on Wednesday.

Marko Arnautovic came off the bench to score the decisive goal at San Siro three weeks ago, giving Atlético a mountain to climb on home soil. Los Colchoneros have struggled since that defeat, only winning one of their last five games across all competitions (one draw, three losses), conceding ground in the fight for a top-four finish in La Liga and exiting the Copa del Rey.

Atlético failed to register a single shot on target in the first leg. The only instance on record (since 2003-04) of a team failing to hit the target through both legs of a Champions League knockout tie is Deportivo de La Coruña in their 2003-04 semi-final defeat to Porto.

Inter Milan 1-0 Atletico Madrid First Leg UCL

Atlético will certainly fancy their chances of a better performance on home soil, however. Wednesday’s match will be Diego Simeone’s 50th at home as a manager in the Champions League, making him the seventh boss to reach that milestone. He has only lost five of his 49 to date (31 wins, 13 draws), with no coach ever suffering fewer defeats through their first half-century (Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho also five).

Simeone will be desperate to see Antoine Griezmann win his battle to be available, with the forward missing four games with an ankle injury he suffered in the first leg.

Griezmann has scored five Champions League goals this term from chances worth 3.13 expected goals (xG), with his overperformance of +1.87 only bettered by Julián Álvarez (+3.32), Evanilson (+2.5), Galeno (+2.14) and Gabriel Jesus (+2) ahead of this week’s fixtures.

Antoine Griezmann Champions League xG map

Alongside the Frenchman, Pablo Barrios and José Giménez are Atlético’s other injury concerns.

If the hosts are to turn the tie around, they may need an all-action midfield performance from Rodrigo De Paul, who has created six chances from line-breaking passes in the Champions League this season. At the halfway stage of the last-16 ties, Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham was the only other player in the competition to match that tally. 

Atlético will certainly have their work cut out against a battle-hardened Inter side, with the Nerazzurri having progressed from seven of their eight previous Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg. The exception came in 2005-06’s quarter-finals, when they went out on away goals to Villarreal following a 2-2 aggregate draw.

With Inter comfortably clear at the top of Serie A, Simone Inzaghi was able to rest Lautaro Martínez, Federico Dimarco, Benjamin Pavard and Denzel Dumfries on Friday, as Yann Bisseck’s goal handed them a 1-0 away win over in-form Bologna.

That was the Nerazzurri’s 13th victory in as many games in 2024 across all competitions, while they have now won 47 league matches since the start of last season – the joint-most of any team in Europe’s top five leagues alongside Manchester City.

Inter are looking to reach the Champions League quarter-finals in consecutive seasons for the third time, having previously done so in 2004-05 and 2005-06, before repeating the trick in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

While a clean sheet would send Inter through, another goal would make things far more comfortable, and they will hope to see Martínez rediscover his goalscoring form in Europe. While the Argentine leads Serie A’s scoring charts with 23 goals in 25 appearances this term, he has only netted twice from chances totalling 4.9 xG in the Champions League. No player has underperformed their underlying figures by a greater margin than him (-2.9) in this season’s tournament.

Inter will be without Arnautovic and Carlos Augusto in the Spanish capital after the duo sustained muscle problems against Bologna, while Juan Cuadrado remains out with an Achilles injury.

Atlético Madrid vs Inter Head-to-Head

This will be Atlético’s first home game against Inter in any competition.

They have won seven of their last nine matches against Italian teams on home soil, the exceptions being a 2-2 draw with Juventus in 2019 and a 1-0 defeat to Milan in 2021.

Inter, meanwhile, have a poor record in Champions League games in Spain. They are winless in their last 10 away matches against Spanish sides in the competition, drawing three and losing seven since beating Valencia 5-1 in October 2004.

Their last trip to the country came in their opening game of this season’s group stage, with a late Martínez strike earning them a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad.

Recent Form

Atlético have not exactly been comeback kings in the Champions League lately. They progressed from their first two knockout ties in the competition when losing the first leg (versus Bayer Leverkusen in 2014-15 and Barcelona in 2015-16), but they have since been eliminated from their last three, against Real Madrid in 2016-17, Chelsea in 2020-21 and Man City in 2021-22.

Meanwhile, since recording a memorable 3-2 win over Liverpool at Anfield in March 2020, Atlético have scored just three goals in eight matches in the Champions League’s knockout stages.

They have failed to score on five occasions in that run, including in each of their last three, being shut out twice by City last season and in the first leg of this tie.

Inter are unbeaten in all seven of their Champions League games this season (four wins, three draws), after losing last June’s final in Istanbul.

They last enjoyed a longer unbeaten streak in Europe’s premier club competition between December 2003 and March 2005, a run of nine matches.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Wednesday night, here is the current Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Atlético Madrid vs Inter Prediction

Atletico Madrid vs Inter Prediction

The Opta supercomputer struggles to call Wednesday’s game. Of 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of kick-off, Inter won 38.6%, with the hosts edging 34.2%.

A draw would, of course, be enough to send Inter through, and 27.2% of the supercomputer’s simulations finished level.

Overall, Inter are given a 75.9% chance of reaching the last eight, with Atlético going through in 24.1% of scenarios.

Inzaghi’s men are actually the supercomputer’s second favourites to lift the trophy, doing so in 16% of our tournament simulations. Only defending champions City (29.8%) are given a better chance of going all the way.

Atlético Madrid vs Inter UCL Squads

Atlético Madrid squad: Horatiu Moldovan, Jan Oblak, José María Giménez, Gabriel, Stefan Savić, Nahuel Molina, Mario Hermoso, Reinildo, Rodrigo De Paul, Koke, Saúl Ñíguez, Thomas Lemar, Samuel Lino, Marcos Llorente, Rodrigo Riquelme, Arthur Vermeeren, Axel Witsel, Sergio Guerrero, Antoine Griezmann, Memphis Depay, Ángel Correa, Álvaro Morata, Álex Calatrava, Abdellah Raihani.

Head coach: Diego Simeone

Inter Milan squad: Yann Sommer, Emil Audero, Raffaele Di Gennaro, Denzel Dumfries, Tajon Buchanan, Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Yann Bisseck, Stefan de Vrij, Benjamin Pavard, Federico Dimarco, Carlos Augusto, Nicolò Barella, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Davide Frattesi, Davy Klaasen, Kristjan Asllani, Marko Arnautović, Marcus Thuram, Lautaro Martínez, Alexis Sánchez.

Head coach: Simone Inzaghi

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