Football

Torres back in the frame for Champions League action

ROUND OF 16, 2ND LEG
ATLETICO MADRID 
BAYER LEVERKUSEN
  • Atletico lead 4-2 from first leg

Fernando Torres is expected to return just two weeks after losing consciousness in a sickening head clash as Atletico Madrid look to seal their place in the Champions League quarter-finals tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Torres was on target in a 4-2 first-leg win against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany three weeks ago to give the Spanish side a commanding lead.

He returned to full training for the first time on Monday since losing consciousness in a challenge with Deportivo la Coruna's Alex Bergantinos.

However, thankfully, the 32-year-old was released from hospital less than 24 hours later, having suffered no serious injuries.

"We imagine that for Wednesday he will be available," said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.

Whether Torres starts depends on Kevin Gameiro's fitness as the France international missed Saturday's 1-0 win at Granada with an abdominal injury.

Atletico, who are bidding to reach the last eight for a fourth straight year, will be without captain Gabi and left back Filipe Lui, who are both suspended.

They have lost only one of 20 Champions League games at home under Simeone, although midfielder Koke warned against complacency.

Said the Spanish international: "We have a great result from the first leg, but we can't be complacent. We need to give our all again on Wednesday."

Leverkusen travel to Spain under new management as Tayfun Korkut replaced the sacked Roger Schmidt after the Germans' first-leg defeat was followed by a 6-2 thrashing at Borussia Dortmund.

Centre back Omer Toprak admitted that a tough task awaits them.

He said: "We know it's going to be difficult and it's hardly possible, but we will give it our all and try to make the impossible possible." Leverkusen, though, will be depleted by injury and suspension themselves.

Benjamin Henrichs and influential midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu are banned, whilst Toprak, Jonathan Tah, Stefan Kiessling and captain Lars Bender are out injured. - AFP