The Champions League returns on Wednesday, and Atlético can take a big step in their quest to qualify for the last 16 by beating outsiders Malmö in the Vicente Calderón.
With all teams in Group A level on three points after the first couple of match days, neither side can really afford to slip up in the first of a two week double header between the Spanish and Swedish champions.
Kick-off in the capital is set for 20:45 CET.
After a disappointing defeat against Valencia before the International break, Atlético got their league form back on track on Sunday with a comfortable 2-0 win over Espanyol.
Our only other loss of the season came at Olympiacos in the first Champions League group match last month, but having beaten Juventus since then, Simeone and his team will be looking to really push on and lay down a marker in the competition.
However, injuries are starting to pile up, and after scoring the opener at the weekend, Tiago was forced off with a muscle problem early in the second half and has been officially ruled out for tomorrow night.
Joining him on the sidelines yesterday was left-back Cristian Ansaldi, and on Tuesday morning Gabi was deemed not fit for the official match squad, both having suffering injuries during training.
The captain’s absence comes alongside further speculation surrounding his involvement in the Zaragoza/Levante match-fixing scandal of 2011, although according to the club website he has a hamstring discomfort.
Returning to contention after serving a domestic ban is Alessio Cerci, although he will most likely have to wait for his first start for Atleti. MARCA today have tipped both Antoine Griezmann and Saúl Ñíguez to start.
In his press conference, Cholo stressed that concentration within the team is high after reportedly giving them something of a dressing down last week, and spoke highly of our Scandianvian opponents.
“We’re only thinking about the game tomorrow, not about the results of our group rivals or anything else, only getting the win,” he said.
“I admire Malmö as their main virtue is playing as at team, working within various systems and adapting to the coach’s instructions. We will need to be careful as they are dangerous team, as they showed in the last match against Olympiacos.”
The Argentine tactician also confirmed that Miguel Ángel Moyá will continue in goal ahead of Jan Oblak, but did not give much more away in regards to his line-up and how he will replace Gabi and Tiago in midfield.
“You can ask me this in every press conference should you wish, but tomorrow Moyá will start in goal. The rest of the team I will decide after we train, everyone is in with a chance.”
For many, Malmö will be something of an unknown quantity, but they have shown their pedigree already in Europe this season.
Like ourselves, Juventus and Olympiacos they are their nation’s champions, and despite losing the opener in Turin, put the Greek side to the sword a few weeks back, and also qualified in impressive fashion with a comprehensive win against the free-scoring Red Bull Salzburg.
They have the best defence in Sweden and are currently nine points clear at the top of the Allsvenskan, although did suffer defeat at home on Saturday at the hands of Elfsborg.
Striker Marcus Rosenborg is their top scorer, and he has tasted victory over Atlético before, scoring the winner in a 2-1 win for Racing Santander back in 2011.
Alexander Blomqvist, Erik Johansson, Markus Halsti and Filip Helander are listed as injury doubts for the clash, although the latter trio have all made the trip and should be available to manager Åge Hareide.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak
Defenders: Godín, Siqueira, Gámez, Juanfran, Miranda, Giménez
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Koke, Griezmann, Raúl García, Arda, Saúl, Cristian Rodríguez, Cerci
Forwards: Mandžukić, Jiménez
Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia)