Match preview: Atlético vs. Juventus

Atleti look to get their Champions League campaign back on track against the Italian Champions

Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez

Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez (Reuters)

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.

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    We can take down Juventus.. If Galatasaray can beat them, than we can beat them also… It’s important to know that Italian clubs always play for a draw in away matches.. And they will go in Defens mode, if they scored the 0-1… So it’s important to make a goal fast against this defensive Juve

  • Juventus are the 3rd foreign club against which Atleti played more games (5), after Celtic (6) & Porto (8)

    Those 5 games against Juve should have been 10 or even 15 .. that what we were missing because of ” the 2000 disaster ” , or I can go farther and say because of Jesus Gil, although his son and his partner of destroying the club, Gil Marin is trying to make up for his & his father’s mistakes, and he is actually doing a good job in the last 5 years

    Any game against this Juve is a 50-50, no mater if it’s home or away, so, if we lost tonight I want to ask those who love to freak out : please do not
    even if Olympiacos won tonight, we will still have a big chance to qualify .. you can do the math
    But we must win tonight, to avoid complicated situations, to avoid too early pressure, to cash 1 million euros, and to improve our record against La Vecchia Signora (of the past 5 games they won 4 and we won one)

    Tactically, I will only say one thing :
    it’s a good decision from Simeone to play with Moya in the goal, just as I said, this is a 50-50 game, and the last thing Oblak needs is another defeat
    he can has his Calderon debut against much easier opponent than Juve, the next 2 games at home are against Espanyol and Malmo, he could play one of them, or both

  • Chewie

    First of all, proper respect to Juventus. They looked really good and matched us in almost every component. Except the goal, of course. Refereeing was spot on, so many close calls were made right, and even in such a tight, intense game the ref kept his cool and controlled the situation.

    The ferocious Arda is back. Every time the Turk gets the ball, you see either creativity or plain high class football. Raul Garcia remembered his old DM days and made a dozen of beautiful tackles, being alert and effective as ever. Ansaldi’s consistency and accuracy at crossing won’t stop impressing me. So far his case is like Moya’s – the player who was bought as a sub is performing better than the supposed starter.

    Other than these guys, I can’t really highlight anyone else. The team was collected and concentrated, achieving the main goal of such games – to not make mistakes and to punish the slighest slip by the opponent.

    The fans were roaring and Simeone was emanating crazy energy as always. In the battle of the champions the most vigilant prevailed!

  • Of the biggest 5 games so far this season, Saul has started 3, against Juve, Sevilla, and one of the 3 against Real Madrid
    He is the youngest of Manqui-Oli-Saul trio (although he’s just few months younger than Manquillo & few days younger than Oliver) but he was the first to win Simeone’s full trust

    Maybe he was lucky to be the first one who was loaned out, and maybe loaning Oli & Manqui was a little late decision

    Could we someday see Saul, Oliver, Manqui, Gabi, Koke & Mario all starting together ?!
    I dream of that day