Freshly qualified Champions League quarter-finalists Atlético will seek revenge against one of only three clubs to defeat them in La Liga this season when they host Espanyol on Saturday.
Proceedings at the Vicente Calderón get underway at 22:00 CET.
Atleti finished off AC Milan in grand fashion on Tuesday, hammering four past the Serie A outfit for an aggregate scoreline of 5-1.
It’s the first time in 17 years los Rojiblancos make it this far into the elite European competition–still standing as one of the last eight in the tournament.
This weekend, they’ll be looking to continue pestering Spain’s two giants by adding three more points to their remarkable haul in the campaign.
‘Captain Colchonero’ Gabi has boldly declared that his squad are after all the spoils within their grasp.
“We’re in the last 11 fixtures,” the 30-year-old midfielder said.
“There’s little left and we are very hopeful, as are our supporters, and we will fight until the end.
“I think Atlético have made an incredible effort, from the players to the coaching staff, to fight against the most powerful, and now that we’ve made it this far, we want to keep fighting until the end.”
Atlético’s resounding success under coach Diego Simeone has completely rehabilitated and revitalised the club’s sense of grandeur.
There’s even hope now that the recent trend of leaving the red and white stripes behind for more globally recognised brands may be coming to a halt.
Midfield maestro and cantera product Koke, speaking to Spanish magazine Minuto 116 this week, played down the rumoured interest of Manchester United.
“I could stay [at Atlético] my whole career,” he said.
“I have a long contract at the moment [through 2018], and I want to see it out as Atlético is my home. We are putting together a great side, the project is very attractive, and I hope I can stay here for many years.”
Simeone hopes to see a packed stadium “just like against Milan, because that creates a lot of excitement”.
“It was marvelous,” the Argentine tactician said.
“Hopefully [on Saturday] the fans will accompany us because a vibrant atmosphere is formed and the match is of great importance.”
Mario Suárez and Miranda will serve suspensions on this match day after each seeing their fifth yellow in Vigo last Saturday.
Adrián, with left knee tendinitis, and Javi Manquillo, with his infamous back injury, will also miss out.
Back at Cholo’s disposal though, are the trio that were banned for the trip to Galicia: Diego Costa, Diego Godín and Arda Turan, and Tiago, who’s been sidelined for over a month but was included in the midweek match selection against Milan.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Toby, Giménez, Juanfran, Insua
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, The Real Raúl, Arda, Cebolla, Gabi, Diego, Sosa
Forwards: Villa, Costa