Match preview: Atlético vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Germans have slender 1-0 advantage going into Tuesday's decider

Diego Simeone prepares for a tough test on Tuesday evening

Diego Simeone prepares for a tough test on Tuesday evening

The most important game in Atlético’s season so far takes place on Tuesday evening, as the reigning Spanish champions welcome Bayer Leverkusen to the Vicente Calderón in the second-leg of their Champions League tie.

Kick-off in Madrid is set for 20:45 CET, and you won’t want to miss it!

Down by a single goal from the first-leg in Leverkusen, Atleti know that it is vital they stop the opposition from nabbing an away goal – or face having to score three. A tough task – but Atleti haven’t conceded a European goal at home in over a year.

Despite a disastrous few results in terms of Atleti’s title challenge, the only real form that Atleti have been showing lately has been at home, where they have won two out of their last three. However in Europe, Atleti have 20 of their last 22 matches at the Vicente Calderón.

Atleti will have to win without the presence of both Tiago and Diego Godin, who are both suspended following cards in the first-leg. However Los Rojiblancos welcome back Koke to the team, who missed the first-leg through injury – something Simeone is delighted with.

“Koke is one of the best midfielders around in terms of reading the game,” Cholo said at his pre-match press conference. “When he is at his best, he allows us to play more dynamically because of his quick mind.”

Leverkusen have had a huge uplift in form over the past month. Since beating Atlético at the BayArena, Bayer have gone on to win five games in a row – all without conceding a single goal, whereas Atleti haven’t won any. Simeone knows the threat Atleti face.

“Bayer are a vertical team, they play very direct football,” he said. “They have great speed in their forward line – we have to avoid the situations we couldn’t avoid in the first leg. We must be quick in the transition when they lose the ball.”

“If we do not concede a goal, that’s no good to us. Our goal is to win.”

With Mandzukic now available again to Simeone following his suspension for the game against Espanyol, our coach now has an interesting decision to make as to whether the Croatian goes back into the starting line-up. He started on the bench in the last games against Valencia and Sevilla.

“I’ve not yet talked with Mandzukic or Torres,” the Argentine said when asked who would play. “Tomorrow, when we prepare the match, we will decide.”

Miranda will start at the back alongside Giménez, in the last game before the Brazilian’s suspension for the red card against Espanyol.

Siqueira is still injured, and so Jesús Gámez looks the most likely to slot in at left-back, as the mysterious absence of Cristian Ansaldi goes on.

Both coach and players of Atleti demanded a great atmosphere at the Vicente Calderón.

“I want a noisy Calderón that pushes us to get things done. I don’t want a moment’s silence. We have to keep working and keeping the faith. We need cool heads,” Simeone said, in comments echoed by Mario Suárez.

“We know that for us, the fans are very important and are always there in matches like this,” the midfielder said.

“The fans tomorrow will be our twelfth player.”

You can see both managers’ pre-match comments in the video below.

Atlético squad list:
Goalkeepers:
Moyá and Oblak.
Defenders: Juanfran, Jesús Gámez, Miranda, Giménez, Lucas, Ansaldi
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Gabi, Koke, Raúl García, Cani, Arda Turan
Forwards: Griezmann, Fernando Torres, Mandzukic, Raúl Jiménez

Form guide (last six)
Atlético – LWLDDD
Bayer Leverkusen- DWWWWW


  • koke6

    Siqueira didn’t play the game against espanyol cuz he was suspended. He was back in training a week ago so he should be available.

  • He’s out – he’s not even been called up to the match day squad.

  • koke6

    But their website said back in training last time i checked. Maybe didn’t recover completely.

  • Yeah I think he’s still struggling, and they said it’s hamstring so I guess better be safe than sorry with Ansaldi being unreliable

  • koke6

    At the beginning of the season i thought ansaldi displayed good form. I thought that siqueira was gonna be the back up. I was surprised as to why they didn’t buy ansaldi and just went in for a loan deal when he was clearly the better of the 2. But come the close of the season, the reverse stands to be true. Ansaldi offered more both defensively and offensively. I’m actually surprised by the turn events.

  • starvs

    Very worried about our defense with Godin out, not to mention Gamez at LB. Going to have to be a solid team performance all around. We can certainly do it but will have to be more clinical than recent weeks.

  • Abdil Egriøz

    I have an important essay due to tomorrow but as the article say I can’t miss this match as it is THE defining match for me, because we absolutely need a win after this bad run and we NEED to hang on to the champions league. It will be difficult without the likes of Godin and Tiago and facing a Leverkusen team with a quality squad, in a good run atm, but I believe in our team and Simeone to tackle this obtacle and let’s also shut the mouth of all our haters I’ve been stumbling across lately!

  • Αθανάσιος Νικηταράς

    Cani??

  • Mithas

    im so nervous…

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    I can’t believe Mario Suarez is starting

  • Mithas

    lineup was just confirmed and it looks pretty neat except mario is playing…. why

  • Mithas

    fuck this

  • Abdil Egriøz

    I’m actually glad to see Cani, but what concerns me is gamez and suarez

  • Abdil Egriøz

    What do you guys think about Miranda playing today with the absence of godin? Reading the reactions from last week I expect many of you to be extra nervous, but I expect him to fight better and be more carefull at least that’s what Simeone must have told him.

  • Parsa1903

    I’m sad to see Gabi is on bench becuase of my personal feelings but I don’t want to make any pre judgements … Let’s see how this line up works, Especially very curious about Cani

  • Chewie

    I only hope he doesn’t get a red or fouls inside the penalty box. Otherwise it should be fine. Gamez is more worrying but he’s not much worse than Siqueira so it should be okay too. To me, the midfield is key. If we control the centre and the passing’s good, we’ll have a chance.

  • AaX

    Those alledged ‘ haters’ has been around this Fansite for the last 3 to 4 years even before winning the La Liga, when you are not around to be seen. Some of them have been supporting for more than 20 years or your age. And we are still here. Having said that We always will be glad when our mouths are shut up by Great Performances which prove the critics wrong. That’s the honest intent of those comments initially anyway. VAMOS ATLETI

  • Abdil Egriøz

    Actually I wasn’t talking about the fans on this fansite at all, but people hating on Atletico on social media and in real life.