Preview: Atletico Mineiro vs. Bahia – prediction, team news, lineups

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Preview: Atletico Mineiro vs. Bahia – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Brasileiro clash between Atletico Mineiro and Bahia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Atletico Mineiro host second-placed Bahia in Sunday’s round seven Brasileiro encounter at Arena MRV.

The hosts could move a point behind the away side in the embryonic table with a win, and they have reason to be confident after their five-win-in-six Copa Libertadores group stage.

Match preview

© Reuters

Gabriel Milito‘s Atletico Mineiro side overcame a mini wobble to dispatch Caracas 4-0 in the Copa Libertadores, sealing first place in their group at Penarol’s expense.

That convincing triumph followed two losses in all competitions against Penarol (2-0) and Sport Recife in the Copa do Brasil, but Galo bounced back to avoid a three-game winless sequence.

Despite remaining undefeated in their five league matches (they have an outstanding game), the Belo Horizonte side have had a mixed start to the 2024 league campaign, underlined by two wins and three draws.

Milito’s men thought the two-game winless start to the season was behind them after back-to-back victories against Cruzeiro (3-0) and Cuiaba (3-0) but conceding twice to Fluminense (2-2) in their last game has deflated that confidence somewhat.

Nevertheless, the team’s six league wins in seven home matches (one draw) dating to the backend of last season means the hosts should be backed to record their second top-flight triumph (home games) of the new campaign this weekend.

Bahia manager Rogerio Ceni  looks on during an April 2024 Serie A fixture© Reuters

Bahia aim to be the first side since Cruzeiro to defeat Galo in the Brasileiro in eight attempts, keen to continue their undefeated sequence.

That October 2023 loss to Cruzeiro (1-0) was also the last time the home side failed to score in the top flight in front of their fans, adding to the daunting nature of Sunday’s task for Tricolor.

However, Rogerio Ceni‘s men will relish the opportunity to end that scoring run due to his side’s five clean sheets in six in all competitions, pointing to Bahia’s undoubted defensive solidity.

CRB may have defeated Bahia on penalties this week — a Copa do Nordeste match — meaning Bahiaco will not add to their four titles in that competition, but it should not derail Ceni’s side.

Having avoided defeat in two consecutive games on their travels — an improvement on five losses in six road matches dating to last season — Bahia seek to match their best undefeated away sequence since a three-game run in October 2021.

Atletico Mineiro Brasileiro form:

Atletico Mineiro form (all competitions):

Bahia Brasileiro form:

Bahia form (all competitions):

Team News

Atletico Mineiro's Hulk celebrates after Paulinho scores their first goal on August 13, 2023© Reuters

Milito’s men are expected to be without Otavio (thigh), Paulo Vitor (ankle) and Rubens (knee) in Sunday’s match.

The Argentine boss has chopped and changed between variations of a back three and four since replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari but could utilise a 4-2-3-1 this weekend.

Despite setting up two, Hulk is yet to open his league account this term, and the experienced forward seeks his first league goal of the campaign in round seven.

Nicolas Acevedo is a long-term absentee with a severe knee injury, while Victor Cuesta (knee), Everaldo (rib) and Ryan Carlos (ankle) are reportedly doubtful for the clash in Belo Horizonte.

With Everaldo touch-and-go for Sunday, Bahia could be without the player who has netted 33% of their nine league goals this season.

Atletico Mineiro possible starting lineup:
Everson; Saravia, Jemerson, Fuchs, Arana; Battaglia, Franco; Scarpa, Paulinho, Zaracho; Hulk

Bahia possible starting lineup:
Felipe; Arias, Xavier, Kanu, Juba; Alexandre, Ribeiro, Lucas, Cauly; Ademir, Ratao

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We say: Atletico Mineiro 1-0 Bahia

Despite keeping a glut of clean sheets in all competitions in the lead-up to Sunday’s game, Bahia could come unstuck against an Atletico Mineiro team that have thrived for months on their turf, keen to win a seventh league clash in front of their fans in eight attempts.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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