The first quarterfinal takes place at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal on Wednesday 12 August, with Serie A side Atalanta tackling French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. While La Dea will be in rhythm from completing the 2019-20 Italian top flight season earlier this month, PSG have had only two competitive fixtures (the French Cup and French League Cup finals) in recent weeks and could come into the match ‘undercooked’.
In addition, Paris look likely to be without key forward Kylian Mbappe, who suffered an ankle injury in the French Cup final against Saint Etienne and it looks to be touch and go as to whether he will be fit in time for this clash.
Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini surprisingly hopes that the French forward makes a speedy recovery: “I’m sorry for him, I didn’t know,” Gasperini stated. “Mbappe is a great guy, I hope it’s not serious. We don’t want to win due to the misfortunes of others. In fact, if you win against these types of players, your result means even more.”
PSG manager Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, has praised La Dea’s football and acknowledged that the match will be a tough one: “Atalanta are a very spectacular team, very strong in attack. They play every time in order to score a lot of goals, and they go one-on-one in all parts of the field. It’s a really spectacular way of playing and I really enjoy watching them. Our challenge is to be ready for it and to prepare in a serious way. It will be a very tight game, a very hard game, but we are there to win it.”
Thursday 13 August brings the second quarterfinal, with RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid facing off at Estadio Jose Alvalade and looking to set up a meeting in the semifinal with the winner of Wednesday’s match.
These two teams notably eliminated last season’s finalists – Leipzig crushed Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on aggregate, while Atletico ended Liverpool’s reign as European champions with a 4-2 triumph overall – and both come into the clash full of confidence.
RBL manager Julian Nagelsmann has praised his Atletico counterpart Diego Simeone, and the battle of tactical wits between the two is set to be a fascinating underlying element of the match.
“I admire Diego Simeone for his clear line, which he has been following for years and with which he is always successful,” Nagelsmann said. “I think anyone who plays like him should have a hard time communicating his idea to the players after two or three years. After all, his style isn’t exactly pleasant for the opponents, neither is it pleasant for his own players because of the intensity and high discipline required.
“But his players still always put his ideas into practice and follow him. That means that as a coach he must have a special gift for communicating his ideas and leading his team. When a coach succeeds in doing that, I’m impressed.”
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UEFA Champions League 12-13 August 2020 – Broadcast details
Wednesday 12 August
21:00: Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain – LIVE on SuperSport 3 and SuperSport Maximo 1
Thursday 13 August
21:00: RB Leipzig v Atletico Madrid – LIVE on SuperSport 3 and SuperSport Maximo 1