Atalanta will welcome Real Madrid to Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo, Italy, as the two teams meet for their first leg in the Champions League round of 16.
Wednesday marks the Italian club's second straight appearance in the knockout stage, while Madrid has been eliminated from this round in its last two UCL campaigns.
How to Watch:
Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TUDN USA and UniMás
Atalanta XI: Gollini; Tolói, Romero, Djimsiti; Maehle, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pessina; Zapata, Muriel
Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco; Asensio, Vinicius Junior
Atalanta won three of its six Group D games this season—all three wins came away from home—and secured a knockout berth with a 1–0 win at Ajax in its final fixture. However, a 5–0 defeat to Liverpool on Matchday 3 was instrumental in its second-place finish behind the English champions.
Gian Piero Gasperini's side debuted in the Champions League last season, surprisingly reaching the quarterfinals and very nearly beating PSG before a late collapse prevented the club from reaching the semis. Wednesday's match will be their first meeting with Madrid and comes nearly a year after a match in the same stage vs. Valencia in Milan that was dubbed "Game Zero" after it was linked to a spread of the coronavirus that ravaged Bergamo in the early stages of the pandemic.
Real Madrid, the 13-time European champions, finished first in Group B after overcoming a shaky start to the group stage. They took only one point from their first two games—a home loss, 3–2, to Shakhtar Donetsk and a 2–2 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Madrid turned things around with two consecutive wins over Inter Milan to collect six of their 10 points in the first round.
With a goal on Matchday 2, Karim Benzema equaled Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's record of scoring in 16 successive Champions League campaigns. Benzema is one of a handful of Real Madrid regulars unfit to play in the first leg, though, leaving Zinedine Zidane with a thinned-out squad against a dynamic opponent.