Atletico Madrid are desperate to atone for losing their initial Champions League group stage game against Olympiakos when they take on Italian champions Juventus at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night.
Juventus began their Champions League run with a 2 nil home win against Swedish side Malmo FF at home. The Italians have started the season fiercely as they are currently undefeated in all competitions and are still yet to concede a goal.
The two meet at the Calderon tomorrow night, kick off at 20:45 CET.
Atleti have had an unconvincing start to the season but have also managed to stay unbeaten in the league. The lack of manager Simeone on the sidelines has played a major part in this and his presence guided Atletico to a 4 nil rout of Sevilla last weekend. Simeone’s return will no doubt be a plus as Atleti will need to be at their best to get a result.
There were no injuries picked up against Sevilla so we can expect a full strength Atleti tomorrow night.
Simeone is faced with a dilemma as to who to start up front with Mandzukic, Jimenez, Raul Garcia, Griezmann and Cerci all available.
Mandzukic has himself won the Champions League and has bags of experience but he’s not completely adjusted to his new team. Raul Garcia only played 45 mins on the weekend which could’ve been so that he was rested for the Juve game. Griezmann’s electric pace could be vital as Juve’s full backs are extremely attack minded and could be caught out on the counter. Jimenez on the other hand got his first Atleti goal against Sevilla and will be desperate to get back on the pitch. The final option, Cerci, has played against Juventus on numerous occasions, he knows their weaknesses and could exploit them.
One player that has been confirmed to play tomorrow night by coach Simeone is the goalkeeper Moya. Moya has arguably been Atleti’s best signing so far putting in a plethora of excellent performances and saving his team’s skin on occasion. Brought in to play second fiddle to Jan Oblak he has seized the vacant goalkeeping spot left by Oblak’s injury and made it his own.
Simeone went on to admit he found it hard to identify weaknesses in our upcoming opponents ‘It’s difficult to find errors in the present Juve’
‘they are comfortable being near the box and try to be as close as possible to our box and we’ll try to avoid that’
He also earmarked his compatriot Carlos Tevez as a major threat “Tévez is an extraordinary player. The closer he is to the goal, the better he performs. You cannot let him think or receive”
Centre back Diego Godin accompanied his manager at the press conference and said that ‘For us, it’s a final. We are accustomed to playing finals every weekend’ this mantra helped the team reach the final last season.
“We’ll work as a team like Atlético does, from the last player like Mandžukić, to the rest of us, focused and all together.”
The Uruguayan ended by reiterating the importance of Simeone’s presence “Inside the pitch, he communicates things he sees from below and not from the stands. He transmits proximity, which is important for us.”
Tomorrow night is geared up to be a ferocious game but with Atletico Madrid’s form seemingly back on track a victory is on the cards.