Champions League Group D: Juventus eyes the double over Lokomotiv, Bayer boss hopes for miracle vs Atletico

Despite three defeats in Group D, Bayer boss Peter Bosz is optimistic it can beat Atletico Madrid, while Juventus looks to carry its winning run to Russia.

Juventus has won nine of its past 10 matches in all leagues, including a 2-1 victory against Lokomotiv Moscow in the reverse fixture.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The fate of Group D of the ongoing season of the UEFA Champions League looks more or less sealed. European football giants Juventus and Atletico Madrid are tied at the top of the table after seven points each from three games, with the former marginally ahead on goal difference, and are most likely to go advance to the next round.

On the other hand, Bayer Leverkusen's residual hopes of making it through came crashing down in its last Champions League game when it suffered a 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid.

Lokomotiv Russia needs to win every match from hereon to stay alive in the hunt of progressing. However, the road looks extremely tough ahead.

-Juventus travels to Moscow without injured de Ligt-

Juventus will take on Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia without the services of its mainstay defender Matthijs de Ligt, who will miss out due to an ankle injury.

After scoring the winner in the derby against Torino in Serie A on Saturday, centre-back De Ligt was diagnosed with "a slightly sprained left ankle".

The 20-year-old was consequently left out of a Juve team that will clinch qualification from Group D with a victory over Lokomotiv in Moscow.

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Despite one of his main defenders sitting out, Sarri will not worry too much as his team walks into this away fixture on the back of a 1-0 victory over Torino in the Turin derby. Juve has won nine of its last 10 matches and interestingly, six of those victories have come by a scoreline of 2-1.

The last time these two teams met, the defending Serie A champion emerged victorious 2-1.

Lokomotiv Russia, which is currently placed third in the Russian Premier League, will host Juve in a do-or-die encounter. Things have gone from bad to worse for Coach Yuri Semin as Jefferson Farfan, Luka Djordjevic, Anton Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov and Boris Rotenberg miss out due to injury.

-Bayer Boss Peter Bosz hopes for a miracle against solid Atletico Madrid-

Despite three defeats in its first games, Bayer Leverkusen boss Peter Bosz is optimistic it can beat Atletico Madrid on Wednesday to kindle its slim knock-out phase hopes and pull off a Champions League miracle.

Defeats to Lokomotiv Moscow, Juventus and Atletico leaves Leverkusen without a point at the bottom of Group D with only three games left.

It has been more than 15 years since a team managed to progress in the Champions League despite losing its first three games when Newcastle United managed to finish second in 2002/03 group stages by winning all of its last three games.

Nevertheless, Bosz wants a win over Atletico, which beat his side 1-0 in Madrid a fortnight ago and is level on seven points with Juventus at the top of the group, to belatedly kick-start its European campaign.

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“The chance is small, but it is still there,” said Bosz defiantly on Tuesday.

“There are still nine points available in the group. I am a fighter and I'll only say it's over when it really is.

“We want to stay in European competition after the winter break, so we need points.”

Having only lost to a goal by Alvaro Morata at Madrid in its last game, Leverkusen defender Sven Bender is cautiously hopeful of its chances against Atletico.

“We stayed in the game in Madrid, have what it takes to beat Atletico and we want to give everything to win on Wednesday,” said the former Germany defender.

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