Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Lokomotiv Moscow - prediction, team news, lineups

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Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Atletico Madrid play host to Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday evening knowing that victory could put them on the brink of qualification for the Champions League last 16.

However, Lokomotiv head into the fixture at Wanda Metropolitano aware that recording maximum points against the La Liga giants would move them into second place in Group A.

Match preview

After the 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on matchday one, Diego Simeone would have recognised that Atletico were already playing for second place behind the 2020 champions.

That increased the pressure ahead of a home fixture with highly-rated Red Bull Salzburg, who led 2-1 at Wanda Metropolitano before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat.

While that put Atletico in a situation where they could have put breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack, Simeone witnessed his Los Rojiblancos side only claim a draw at Lokomotiv Moscow.

Although Simeone and his players will be content with a two-point advantage over Lokomotiv at this stage of the group, there is now little margin for error with Bayern and a trip to Salzburg still to come.

On the plus side, Atletico will only take confidence from their 1-0 triumph over Barcelona at the weekend, recording their sixth clean sheet in eight matches.

Having been provided with an exceptionally tough group, Lokomotiv will be delighted to still be in contention for a last-16 spot at the midway point.

Marko Nikolic's team are well off the pace in Russia's top flight, sitting in eighth position and eight points adrift of leaders CSKA Moscow.

However, they ended a six-match winless streak in all competitions at the weekend, edging out Arsenal Tula courtesy of a penalty from Anton Miranchuk.

Maximum points were recorded despite playing at a man disadvantage for half of the game, and Nikolic will hope that the character displayed in that contest will lead to a dramatic improvement in form going forward.

Atletico Madrid Champions League form: LWD
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions): WWWDWW

Lokomotiv Moscow Champions League form: DLD
Lokomotiv Moscow form (all competitions): LLLDLW

Team News

Lucas Torreira and Luis Suarez are again expected to be missing for Atletico after recording positive coronavirus tests while on international duty.

Simeone will likely revert back to a 4-4-2 formation, recalling Renan Lodi at left-back so that Yannick Carrasco can be used further forward.

Having an extra day's rest after the Barcelona clash should result in squad rotation being kept to a minimum.

With Fedor Smolov out injured for Lokomotiv, Eder is expected to get the nod in attack.

Veteran centre-back Vedran Corluka is in contention to start this game despite his domestic red card at the weekend.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi; Llorente, Koke, Niguez, Carrasco; Correa, Felix

Lokomotiv Moscow possible starting lineup:
Guilherme; Zhivoglyadov, Cerqueira, Rajkovic, Rybus; Ignatjev, Kulikov, Krychowiak, Miranchuk; Eder, Luis

We say: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Although Lokomotiv earned a share of the spoils in Russia, it could be a different story in the reverse fixture. Atletico are much strong on familiar territory, and we expect Simeone's side to put in an efficient performance on Wednesday evening.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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