Match preview: Atlético vs. Olympiacos

Greek side stand in the way of Atleti and qualification

Rojiblancos prepare for Olympiacos visit

Rojiblancos prepare for Olympiacos visit

Atlético Madrid can book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday as they welcome Greek champions Olympiacos to the Vicente Calderón.

The Colchoneros will be looking to avenge the defeat they suffered in Athens back in September, and can even make sure of top spot should Juventus fail to win in Malmö.

Kick-off in the Spanish capital is set for 20:45 CET.

Having recovered from such a nightmare start, Atleti lead the way in Group A with nine points, three ahead of the chasing pack of Olympiacos and Juventus.

Now however, we face what will most likely be the defining match day, and a clash against a side more than familiar with Spanish football and Simeone’s team.

Three points are a necessity both for us and the visitors – unlucky to be beaten last time out in Turin – who can draw level and really open up the group should they pull off a shock win at the home of last year’s runner-up.

Goals from Tiago, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godín saw Atleti overcome Málaga 3-1 at the weekend, and suggestions are that we could see the same team take to the field tomorrow evening.

Cholo is boosted by the return of Mario Suárez from suspension, but he has decided to leave out left-back Guilherme Siqueira for technical reasons. The Brazilian also served a ban on Saturday following dismissal at Real Sociedad before the International break, but has not found his way back into the squad.

Mario Mandžukić is available despite some slight concerns, although defensive talisman Miranda remains out with a hamstring injury.

In his press conference, the former red and white idol insisted that his top scorer would be available to play, and also highlighted the danger Olympiacos pose, in particular on the break.

“Mandžukić has been working very hard and helps us a lot on the pitch, right now it’s hard to imagine him not playing tomorrow,” said the Argentine.

“The game will be very competitive. We weren’t surprised with how Olympiacos played in Greece, they’re a team who are strong at home and very quick on the counter, with dangerous attacking players such as Domínguez or Afellay.”

“At the Calderón, things will be much different but we know the stengths they have on the counter. I trust for us to decide on the pitch how to defend when this happens.”

Olympiacos have not played since before the international break, last weekend’s trip to Xanthi postponed along with the rest of the matches in the Greek Superleague after a refereeing official was attacked.

Under the guidance of former Real Madrid legend Míchel – who AS revealed was actually once an Atleti socio – the Τhrylos ran away with the domestic title in 2013/14, but sit narrowly behind PAOK in second as things stand.

They have also seen their form away from the Georgios Karaiskakis drop a little as of late, having won just 2 of the last 10 on their travels, including losses at group rivals Malmö and Juventus earlier on in the competition.

“We are well aware of how [Atleti] play in all aspects. There is no difference to how they play home or away, so we will try and repeat our performance from back in September,” he said.

When asked which Atlético player he would most like to sign, he answered with goalkeeper Roberto, who came through at the Vicente Calderón and joined from Simeone’s team last year.

“Roberto is a truly excellent goalkeeper and this is a special occasion for him, he is terrific. If Koke or Arda were to miss the game though, I wouldn’t complain!”

One footnote ahead of the game you may be glad to hear is that Michel Platini will not be in attendance, despite having been invited on behalf of the club according to Mundo Deportivo.

The UEFA president reportedly declined the invitation due to the unsympathetic feeling towards him from Atleti supporters. The Champions League anthem is still roundly booed before matches following his decision to play our 2008 clash against PSV behind closed doors.

After the game, focus switches back to La Liga and a third home successive home match, Deportivo la Coruña the next visitors to the Calderón on Sunday lunchtime.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak
Defenders: Godín, Ansaldi, Gámez, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Koke, Griezmann, Raúl García, Arda, Gabi, Saúl, C.Rodríguez, Cerci
Forwards: Mandžukić, Jiménez

Referee:  Wolfgang Stark (Germany)

  • “boosted by the return of Mario Suarez from suspension” is not a good expression, because he was not suspended in UCL
    you should have said “boosted by the return of Mario Suarez who was suspended for the last match in La Liga”
    and more importantly, how can you call the return of Mario a “boost” ?!!

    I don’t like to call it a “punishment” when El Cholo exclude a player who made some mistakes from the next game’s list, but I think this is the case with Siqueira, playing such a vital game with no back-up LB is certainly a punishment

    I don’t think the Greeks will play for the 3 points, they will defend very hard and play on the counters, and if they couldn’t win then a draw will not be bad, with them receiving Malom and us going to Juve, a win for them and a defeat for us will put them above us due to head-to-head results (assuming that Juve will beat Malom in Sweden)
    That’s why this is a must-win game .. it’s our first final this season

    If RG8 played, it will be his 66th game with Atleti in Europe, to tie with our legend Adelardo as the player with most European games with Atleti
    While Raul is already the Atleti player with most games in UCL (29)
    Tomorrow’s game will also be the 299th game for Raul with Atletico, and he could complete the 300 on Sunday .. only 20 players in our history reached that milestone, one of them is actually with the club right now, Juan Vizcaino, Simeone’s 2nd assistant who played 316 games in 8 seasons with Atleti and was one of the heroes of 96 doblete

    Many of non Atleti fans will not believe that Raul Garcia was used to be whistled at by the Calderon fans
    He is an example to follow by all football players .. and by all athletes .

  • Billy

    Mate, do everyone and a favour and stop taking everything so literal. Please.

  • Kris


  • Kris

    But when you dig deep like that, you can also decide that Raul Garcia has had a pretty lucky career. He really still isn’t a very special player, and I don’t see him improving any time soon.

  • I’m sorry .. I cant 😉

  • well, for us he is very special
    he is not very talented, but he gets the work done, he scores, he assists, he defends, he is a leader, and because he is not very special and not very talented, he probably will never leave us like many other key players, and that is a very good thing

    as a mater of fact, we had many players like Raul Garcia, who were not very talented, but they were very hard workers, you could disagree with me in this, but I think Simone was one of them .. Vizcaino too
    and in the current squad there is Gabi

  • calderano

    In fairness i would have said the same thing as billy!

    we’re one team! so in the last game we didnt have mario, having him back for this game is a boost! especially as cholo relies on him for the champions league!