Match preview: Viktoria Plzeň vs. Atlético

Rojiblancos looking to qualify as group winners for Europa League knockout stages

Atleti looking to return to winning ways

Atleti looking to return to winning ways (

After derby defeat, Atleti now travel to the Czech Republic to tie up the formalities of the Europa League group stage and looking to claim top spot against fellow qualifiers Viktoria Plzeň.

Simeone has again rested the star names for the trip, in what will reportedly be the last time we see the second string take to the field in a game this season.

Kick-off in the Štruncovy Sady is 19:00 CET.

Despite all our hope and endeavor, once again our dreams of beating Real Madrid came to an abrupt end on Saturday night as the red and whites were beaten 2-0 in the Bernabéu.

Just our third defeat of the season, the task for the team now is to put the disappointment behind them and regain the form we have shown for most of the year so far.

Atleti currently stand two points ahead of Plzeň in Group B of the Europa League, so avoiding defeat against the Czech outfit will ensure we go into the knockout stage as top seeds.

However, with big games including Barcelona in the Camp Nou coming up, a win would be the ideal result and the best way to gain momentum going into a key stage of the season.

As has been the case for every game in the tournament so far, Falcao, Arda Turan and Diego Godín are given a rest, with the same going to midfielders Gabi and Mario Suárez.

Joel Robles is ineligible, and Cristian Rodríguez, who’s last minute scorcher separated the teams back in October, remains on the injury list along with Filipe Luís.

Coming into the squad is Jorge Pulido, as well as fellow canteranos Saúl Ñíguez, Javi Manquillo, Kader Oueslati and Pedro Martín.

The suggestions are that 18-year-old Manquillo will return to the line-up after starting against Jaén a week ago, shifting the unwanted Sílvio to the bench. If so, it will be his debut in European competition.

On the subject of the match, Simeone insisted that the team would be going out hungry to win in Plzeň, and as always went on to praise the style and highlight the danger of the opponent.

“We know we’ll encounter a difficult opponent, hard, fast and dangerous,” he stated. “However, we’ll play with the attention needed to win the game.”

“It’s hard to play for a draw, so we’ll approach the game like we usually do. Our aim is to be competitive in all three competitions, and I have faith in the workforce and have given them all minutes.”

Raúl García echoed his managers thoughts in the pre-match press conference, and appeared eager to return to Madrid with a win to end what has been an excellent year of continental football for the Colchoneros.

“If we come here to draw then we’ll probably have problems,” said the former Osasuna man. “The only idea we have as a team is to get the three points to top the group.

“Viktoria are not going to surprise us. We saw in the reverse fixture that they’re a good side and will give us a tough test, but they will have to risk more here than at the Calderón.”

For the Czechs, motivation will be high as a win for them will mean that they top the group, and Atleti will have to settle for second. They currently sit top of the league and are in great form, having won five on the bounce domestically.

In the Champions League last year they held Milan to a famous draw at home, and will be looking to emulate that with a win against Simeone’s team. Manager Pavel Vrba remained cautious ahead of the game.

“Atlético are on the same level as Milan, Barcelona or Schalke, teams of the highest level that we have competed against,” he said.

“Even though they’ll be missing players they have proven they are a great team, but we’ll do everything we can to beat them.”

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Asenjo, Courtois
Defenders: Pulido, Cisma, Sílvio, Cata Díaz, Juanfran, Miranda, Manquillo
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Emre, Saúl, Kader
Forwards: Adrián, Diego Costa, Pedro

Referee: Kristinn Jakobsson (Iceland)

  • Atletico- palestine

    Its clear that simeone’s priority for this season is liga liga liga.. Then europa league and spanish cup tournaments u can see that in europa games the selections are always second line same thing in cup games, i think against getafe he will do the same!
    I agree totaly that each 3 points in la liga are more important than other 2 tournaments.
    Aupa atleti 😉