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Oblak could return for Atletico at Leverkusen

Oblak could return for Atletico at Leverkusen

Jan Oblak

Oblak last played for Atletico in a league match with Villarreal on 12 December

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak could start for the first time since December in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg at Bayer Leverkusen.

Oblak, 24, was key to Atleti’s progress from the group stage but has not played since suffering a dislocated shoulder.

“We’ll watch him train and decide after that,” Atleti boss Diego Simeone said.

“Leverkusen are a very strong side and Javier Hernandez is in fine form. We’re playing a team with great intensity, but we have great intensity too.”

Atletico, beaten finalists in 2014 and 2016, defeated Leverkusen on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate draw in the last 16 in 2015.

“They have an exceptional squad and we’ll have to do very well to beat them,” said Bayer boss Roger Schmidt, who also believes Hernandez will key.

Former Manchester United striker Hernandez, 28, has four goals from his past two games and is Leverkusen’s top scorer with 12 in all competitions this season.

“He is in amazing form and has played very well in every game so far this year,” Schmidt added.

“It is hugely important when you play at this level to have players with such self-confidence and that kind of scoring efficiency.”

Atletico Madrid, fourth in the Spanish table, warmed up for Tuesday’s match with a 4-1 win at Sporting Gijon on Saturday. Leverkusen, eighth in the Bundesliga, beat Augsburg 3-1 on Friday.

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