With a 3-0 advantage from the first leg, Atlético make the short trip to Getafe for the return of our Copa del Rey tie on Thursday, and will be hoping to complete the formalities and seal a place in the quarter-finals.
Like in other cup games this season, Simeone will make changes, but we are expecting to see a strong line-up still with Radamel Falcao set to start up front.
Kick-off in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez is 19:30 CET.
Despite missing key players, the red and whites didn’t make the ideal start to 2013, as a late goal from Kevin denied us all three points at Mallorca on Sunday night.
However, Falcao, Arda Turan and Miranda all return to the squad for Getafe, and Simeone confirmed in his press conference that the Colombian forward will lead the line on Thursday night.
The hosts have shown no suggestions of surrendering in the build-up though, and have named a strong squad in hope of overturning their three goal disadvantage. The idea for Atleti may be to try and get an away goal and secure the tie early on.
With an important game against Zaragoza on Sunday, a few players have been given the night off such as Koke and Godín, as well as Filipe who has suffered from fitness problems recently, and Tiago, absent through a minor injury.
Turkish midfielder Emre returns to the squad, as does Javi Manquillo, who joins fellow canterano Saúl Ñíguez in the list of 18. Pedro, a substitute in Mallorca, drops out.
With a generous draw giving Simeone’s team a real chance of making the final this year, fans are licking their lips at the prospect of yet another cup run. In typical fashion though, the Argentine coach has preferred to remain cautious.
“The cup has always taught us to be careful,” he told the press on Wednesday. “It’s a two-legged and tie and hopefully we can manage the second in the best manner, by working and maintaining the same identity the team has always had.”
Cholo has won all 11 of his cup ties in charge at Atlético, and clearly appeared to be taking this one seriously too, confirming that he would field our star man for the first time in a non-league match since the European Super Cup.
“Falcao will play, although we have to wait to see whether Arda can start the game or not.” he said.
When asked about his recent third place ranking in IFFHS’s list of the the best managers in 2012, the 42 year-old was quick to hand the praise over to his team, paying tribute to an incredible twelve months for the Madrid club.
“We had a great year, and I would put it down to the player’s performances. Without the support of the team, the club, and again, the players I would not be in this position.” he humbly acknowledged.
As mentioned above, Getafe have named a near full strength squad for the game, missing just the injured Pedro León, Lopo, who has been rested, and Abdel Barrada and Mehdi Lacen, both away at the African Cup of Nations.
On Monday, in another derby, they were beaten 3-1 by a rampant Rayo Vallecano, in what was their fifth winless game in a row. Manager Luís García admitted that a comeback would be tough against Atlético, but refused to give up hope.
“It will be very, very difficult, but we’ll try. The spirit in the dressing room is still positive, despite some bad matches.” he said.
A former Atleti canterano, García also had plenty of good words for his boyhood team, going as far as calling the current side the best in our history.
“In the league, this is the best Atlético of all time, and the history of Atlético is very great.” he stated. “We will give everything we have, sometimes there are surprises.”
Should we make it through, Betis or Las Palmas will await us in next week’s quarter final, with the tie poised at 1-1 ahead of tomorrow’s second leg in Seville.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Asenjo, Courtois
Defenders: Pulido, Cisma, Cata Díaz, Juanfran, Miranda, Manquillo
Midfielders: Mario, Raúl García, Cristian Rodríguez, Arda, Gabi, Emre, Saúl
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Diego Costa
Getafe match selection:
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Codina
Defenders: Alexis, Miguel Torres, Rafa, Abraham, Valera
Midfielders: Sarabia, Gavilán, Diego Castro, Lafita, Míchel, J. Rodríguez, Borja, Fraile, Xavi Torres
Forwards: Álvaro, Colunga, Paco Alcácer