Match preview: Atlético vs. Rennes

Manzano lives to fight another day with Rennes visiting the Calderón

Falcao getting tackled by Rennes defenders (AP)

Falcao getting tackled by Rennes defenders (AP)

On the back of two embarrassing defeats, Atlético are now preparing for their final Europa League group stage match against Stade Rennais.

Many expected there to be a new face in the dugout for Thursday’s encounter, but as it turns out Gregorio Manzano has been given the remaining three games of 2011 to turn the team’s fortunes around.

Kick-off in the Vicente Calderón is set for 21:05 CET.

Los Rojiblancos may have already secured their place in the last 32 of the Europa League, but still need a point to clinch top place in the group.

After overcoming Celtic in matchday five, it looked as if this game against already eliminated Rennes would be a mere formality, but given current form, nothing less than a victory and convincing performance will suffice for Manzano.

The 55-year-old coach is set to make changes from the loss at Espanyol, with MARCA reporting that Álvaro Domínguez, Koke, Adrián and Paulo Assunção will all be drafted into the line-up.

Missing from the squad are Antonio López, Pizzi, Jorge Pulido and Gabi, due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Knee injury also means that Sílvio is also still unavailable, but Tiago and the much-talked about José Antonio Reyes return.

Atlético were also attempting to recover from a mauling in Catalonia when the teams last met back in September, that time at the hands of FC Barcelona. The game ended 1-1 with Juanfran grabbing a late equaliser for the away side.

Rennes currently sit fifth place in Ligue 1, but have struggled in Europe since then. Drawing at home to Udinese two weeks ago resigned them to an early exit.

Despite this, Manzano stressed in his press conference this morning that it would still be an important game for his side.

“This is a vital part of a European competition,” he said.

“We can enter the draw on Friday as a top seed, and for Atlético Madrid that is fundamental and a priority.

“Our hope it to be group winners.”

Goyo did not take too kindly to questions over his future, and insisted that he was concentrating solely on tomorrow’s match.

“I care only about Rennes, not the Betis or the Albacete games,” he said.

“I want to finish with the goals I have set myself, so my confidence is high.”

Echoing his manager’s sentiment was striker Adrían.

“We have to apologise to our fans because on Sunday we went wrong,” he admitted.

“It’s clear we have a problem in away matches, but at home we are doing well and have a great opportunity to win our [Europa League] group.”

As for our opponents, manager Frédéric Antonetti will use the game as a chance to play some of the fringe players in the squad.

“It’s a chance for those who have not had much playing time or are returning from injury to express themselves,” said the Frenchman.

“This is not a friendly but I am treating it like a warm-up match. It is still important for us.”

Antonetti brought a total of 25 players along for the trip. Manzano on the other hand named the following 18.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Arda, Assunção, Koke, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao

Rennes match selection
Goalkeepers: Costil, Diallo, N’Diaye
Defenders: Danzé, Foulquier, Mavinga, Apam, Théophile-Catherine, Kana-Biyik, Mangane, John Boye, Jebbour
Midfielders: Brahimi, Tettey, M’Vila, Doumbia, Féret, Mandjeck, Pajot
Forwards: Hadji, Diarra, Kembo, Montaño, Boukari, Pitroipa

Referee: Kristinn Jakobsson (Iceland)

  • javi

    The other day Manano kept Reyes out of the lineup because he was negotiting with Gala, so why is he in the lineup today?

  • Javi Lozoya

    Judging by the players Rennes call up for this match it looks that they’re taking this match pretty serious, they called their best players, M’Vila, Pitroipa, Hadji, Montaño, etc…, so they really want to finish their Europa League victory, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna line their best players and play offensively.

  • ratchet

    I think well win this match, but i hope that manzano goes soon, as we need to improve our away form by the time the EL round of 32 comes along, as if we are going to win this competition, we need to be strong away from home.

  • Ringo

    So, is Reyes still negotiating with Gala? Did the trainer really think of him as too old?

    I think he or Salvio starts today, and Adrian in the weekend.

  • Javi

    Ringo, according to, Gala’s coach does not want Reyes now because he is coming after a feud with Manzano and instead he wants a younger option. So if that happens Atleti will have to take even less for Reyes to get rid of him or keep a player who said “I’d like to help the team but…”
    Not good. Sevilla was interested but they prefer Giovanni-I would too.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Universidad de Chile, champions of the Copa Sudamericana 2011, congratulations to them and their fans, they really deserve it, they finished champions and unbeaten in the tournament, and Eduardo Vargas, who scored 3 goals in the final, and finished topscorer of the tournament with 10 goals deserves a honofirc mention, half Europe wants him, I hope he goes to Arsenal, where he is gonna become a much better and complete player under the guidance of Monsieur Wenger, remember his name, Eduardo Vargas, anyways, great season for U. de Chile, congratulations again, Forza U. de Chile, y Viva Chile!.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I love Gio’s goal against the US, who doesn’t!, probably Howard!, what a GOLAZO!, he is a great player but II think he doesn’t have the caliber for Atleti, he is player for small and mid table teams, like Racing, that’s why he didn’t make it at Barça and Tottenham, and right now we need a DM or CM, Bruno Soriano and/or Borja Valero would we just the kind of players we need, and since Villarreal needs money (they always do), they might sell any of their important players, which are Bruno and Valero, and also, Villarreal has a lot midfielders so I’m pretty sure they’re gonna sell any of them two, and personally I like the two of them, I don’t really have a preference, but since Bruno is a much more defensive player, he also has a great touch, and he is probably the most important player for Villarreal, even more important than Valero. I also, would like to see Topal, he is not getting enough minutes with Valencia and asking a loan for him seems very likely to happen in my opinion of course if Atleti is interested in him.

  • Javi Lozoya

    So Reyes is staying?, I think that’s great news, but that means Shaqi is not coming in January, but anyways what we really need is DM and a RB backup to Silvio because he doesn’t want to get operated and his very injury prone, hopefully the board signs Hugo Mallo or any other promising RB.

  • dgsozkan

    About Reyes issue, in Turkish media, chairman of the Gs stated that they will sign with Reyes only if their coach still wants him. It could be true.Yet, it could be also a new strategy to get Reyes. I still don’t think that Reyes’ lost would be devastating. Sure he is talented, but if he doesn’t want to use his talent,his talent means nothing to me. We need a good coach and ambitious talented players who wouldn’t damage the team harmony. We all are sick and tired of reading news about locker room problems and witnessing the shameful losts, I believe. Enough is enough!

    We need to resolve the manager issue right now. Manzano has to leave the club. We have suffered enough because of him.

  • Gert

    If I’m correct, the teams coming from CL were divided amongst the group winners and the group runner’s up.
    Man U, Man City, Valencia and Olympiakos are put amongst the group stage winners because they did better than the other 4 CL clubs (which are Ajax, Tranbsonspor, Porto and Pilzen)
    So we better win this!

  • Javi

    Yep you are correct Gert, we need to win this one badly, I think we will, a lot of criticism this week should make players step up…

  • falcao

    what do you think about Douglas Costa and Willian from
    Shakhtar Donetsk

  • falcao

    Samuel Inkoom from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk he is 22 and he is RB

  • Lubo

    According to El País, Atleti owe more than 215 million € on taxes. If this is true, this club owes almost one third of La Liga’s tax debt, what keeps me guessing if we survive another economical recession, which is inevitably knocking on Europe’s door, because this one will be much worse than the first one. Maybe even causing Italy, Spain and Portugal to go bankrupt, just like Greece did. Don’t talk about transfers guys, because the only transfers we can expect is bargain sale of our squad. Thank you Gil’s, the devil’s seed, you did it. You led us into doom and despair.

  • Javi

    Falcao, I think Samuel looks pretty solid, does he have an EU passport? But honestly I dont see our team spending any money other than possibly for a coach during the winter break, even if we sell Reyes.

  • Javi


  • falcao

    we need one more RB,DM and LW although we don’t sell Reyes

  • Sebyk

    But we don’t need two classy RBs, that’s just pointless. We already have Sílvio and once he’s back after injury, it’d make no sense to have another quality right back. Personally I’d prefer Hugo Mallo – cheap, young, bags of potential and wouldn’t mind sitting on the bench most of the time…
    Douglas Costa and neither Wilian have EU passports, therefore their transfer is impossible. I agree we need a strong anchorman, but the club’s got simply no money at the moment to buy one. Sucks, I know, but I don’t think that Atlético will bring new players in January. Especially if Manzano is sacked and we’ll have to pay him compensation money…

  • GS Fan 1905

    About Reyes guys,

    It is official. Fatih Terim does not want him and Galatasaray’s president has also confirmed that Galatasaray will not be bringing in Reyes.

    Terim is looking for young players who are hungry for success. I guess Reyes doesn’t fit the bill.

  • Urban

    And thats why he is back in the lineup prolly. Makes sense.

  • Mais

    maybe this rejection will wake him up

  • falcao

    we will not bring Shaqiri then i think

  • falcao

    i agree about Hugo Mallo

  • Javi Lozoya


  • Javi Lozoya

    Koke starts, yeay!

  • falcao

    it seems we play better when Manzano is under the pressure…

  • falcao

    but we must score from play

  • Javi Lozoya

    No, we’re just winning this match because the outcome is inconsequential to Rennes, their already out of the competition.

  • Mais

    i disagree..rennes showed up to play for their honour, i wouldnt think this was an easy match for us

  • Javi Lozoya

    Well, if they would’ve played for their honor then M’vila, El Hadji, Kembo-Ekoko, Pitroipa, although that doesn’t matter know, we won the group and that’s the important thing, now we have to focus in La Liga and Copa del Rey.