When Diego Simeone travels to Leverkusen

Two different characters, one principle and eventually one winner

Juventus v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League

Dressed in all black, Diego Simeone resembles the lead singer of a Gothic rock band. A band which reverberates only the tune of football, a tune worshipped by football hipsters all around the globe.

True to the above description, Simeone has caught the attention of everyone by transforming Atletico Madrid from a mid-table struggler to Champions League contender. Since he took over, Atlético has changed, constantly improving and bettering itself.

On Wednesday, 25th of February, the Argentine will be leading his players out into the Bay-Arena, home of Bayer Leverkusen, the club that has been making some noise in the Bundesliga.

The manager of Bayer Leverkusen, Roger Schmidt, has developed his side with the motif “ROBOT” in his mind, like a passionate mechanical engineer, which he is.

Just like his previous team Red Bull Salzburg, Bayer Leverkusen is based on the principle of heavy pressing. Bayer’s playing style is a mess. At least that is how it looks – press, win, pass vertically, shoot and repeat again. But when you take a closer look, it is a master plan by Schmidt.

Yes, on Wednesday night, two different characters will face each other. It will undoubtedly be a tough battle and I won’t be surprised if Leverkusen, who given their recent history, as the minnows, manage to upset Atlético Madrid. Admit it, we all love it when someone gives life to the story of David and Goliath.

Simeone and Schmidt may be two contrasting personalities, but their ideologies are the same – press to win. While Atlético keeps its defence tight and presses in the midfield region, Leverkusen players press higher up the pitch to win the ball as quickly as possible. One can say that in Leverkusen, Simeone will meet his ideological twin. It is as if Simeone is travelling back in time to play against his less-experienced self.

From a neutral point of view, no matter which team wins, there will be one winner – football. The tactical battle between the two geniuses could hold the key to change the future of the game and also the way we perceive it, like many matches in the past have.

Nachiketh is an Atlético fan from India, and prefers to look at the tactical side of Atleti’s game. You can find him over on Twitter as @NachikethRamesh

  • Tarek Hachem

    Great read, made me excited for wednesday’s match. Nice report Nachiketh.

  • Gert

    Makes me a bit scared going into tomorrow’s game…

  • O.K.

    First of all, Hey guys I´m a longtime supporter of Atletico de Madrid and I´m from Germany.
    I can tell u straight away that Bayer Leverkusen isn´t as good as you probably expect them, after reading the text above.
    In the first weeks of Bundesliga Bayer had a great start and everybody was suprised how good they were, esspecially Belarabbi ,Cahlanoglu and Son were at a great form, but with thr ongoing season, they started showing their weakness conceding a lot of goals. Everyone started critisising thier defensive behavour.
    So Schmidt put his focus on defense by trying to keep his offensive power going on like at the beginning of the season.
    But they are actually still struggling at their defense and they still do.Thats our main difference and strengh. We have a pretty solid defense and a pretty sexy Attacking part.
    We wont concede 4 or even 5 goals like Bayer did and hopefully will against us.
    Due to the fact that Bayer is pressing so high on the pitch they leave so many space in thier half, and Schmidt is so proud of is offensive playing style that he wont change his game, not even against a strong counter attacking team as Atletico.

    You will see how Griezman will rock the right side, because of his speed and technical skills, Wendell and Toprak will show us a very weak performance against a player like Griezman.

    Even when I dont agree with you opinon on the game, I am very happy about the fact that you made you thoughts about the game and about Schmidts tactical concept and his time at Salzburg, where he suprised Pep and Bayern with his tactical mind and won 3:0:

    But still I dont see us struggling against Bayern and I think we really could´ve hit some stronger and more dangerous opponents. I think we will win both legs with a pretty clear result

    Aupa Ateti

    Sorry for the long text


  • Without any disrespect or underestimation, I agree with you, I don’t see Bayer as a threat at all
    I don’t see many games for them in Bundesliga, but as you said, they did have a good start, but now they are sixth, with 29 goals in their nets in 22 games, 5 of them in 1 game at home vs Wolfsburg

    I don’t know a lot about them, but there is one player I know very well from his time in Sevilla and with Bosnia, Emir Spahic, I really can’t understand how many people consider him a good -rather than a great- defender ?!
    for me, he is like Perea in his last 3 seasons with Atleti, the biggest weakness of the team .. maybe Emir was very good someday like Perea as well !

    Don’t apologize for the long comment, if you visit this website regularly and read my comments you will realize that yours isn’t long at all !
    But here there are a lot of great readers who would read every single word of your comment no mater how long it is .

  • Chewie

    Plus, Bayer evidently has 3 injured players and quite a bad record in last 5 matches – 1 win, 2 defeats, 2 draws. And they concede a lot. As for the high pressing, the sheer class of their players shouldn’t cause us serious trouble, and space for counter-attacks is all we can ask for with such good sprinters as Siqueira, Juanfran and Griezmann, maybe Torres. Play Gimenez instead of Miranda and we’ll get two big Uruguayans to score from set pieces. Hoping for an entertaining game.

  • Randall Hauk

    Yep. The only “noise” coming from Bayer of late is a dull ‘thud’ of continued failures to live up to expectations or aspirations.