Match preview: Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid

It's the final, most important and eighth Madrid derby of the season

Diego Simeone has a lot to think about ahead of Wednesday's match

Diego Simeone has a lot to think about ahead of Wednesday's match

In just over 12 hours time, Atlético Madrid take the short journey north across the capital to take on arch rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The most important derby by far of the eight played this season, the outcome decides who plays in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Europe’s premier club competition.

Kick-off in the second leg, with the score locked at 0-0 on aggregate, gets underway at 20:45 CEST.

Our opponents have been rocked by a number of injury blows, the majority of which were sustained in their weekend victory over Malaga.

Gareth Bale was the highest profile casualty, and the Welshman had to hobble off of the field just four minutes into their 3-1 win with a calf injury. The ex-Tottenham player is expected to miss up to three weeks.

Luka Modric joins him on the treatment table, after sustaining damage to his knee ligaments in the same match.

The worries for Carlo Ancelotti’s man don’t stop there – Karim Benzema was ruled out of the game too after picking up a similar knee injury. The Frenchman hasn’t played since coming off in the 76th minute against Atlético last week.

However despite the raft of injuries to our opponents, Diego Simeone is refusing to play up his side’s chances.

“I’m more interested in how we can hurt them, and am not thinking about Madrid’s injuries to Luka Modric and Gareth Bale,” Cholo told the media.

“The replacements – who have spent a long time on the bench for Madrid – are also dangerous. We are focused on our own preparation, we are only thinking about ourselves.”

For Atlético, the only absentee will be Mario Suárez, who is suspended after picking up a booking in the first leg. There’s also a small doubt over the other Mario. Mandzukic missed this weekend’s win over Deportivo with a recurrence of his ankle injury.

“He trained well yesterday,” Simeone said of the Croatian. “Let’s see how he feels in Tuesday’s session. We hope he will be okay to play,” he added.

“All of my players want to play and it won’t be easy to choose the starting line-up. I have an idea of who will play and they will be the first to know.”

Two players who will be a near certainty for the team sheet on Tuesday include Antoine Griezmann, who scored his 20th league goal of the season for Atleti on Saturday, and Jan Oblak, who had his best game in a rojiblanco shirt against Real Madrid last week.

In fact, if the Slovenian goalkeeper starts, he will be the only change from the side that defeated Real Madrid 4-0 at the Vicente Calderón only 2 months ago, if the side Cholo used in training is anything to go by.

It’s a tough task to repeat the famous performance from February, but Simeone knows what the player need to do in order to secure the win, and only the fifth European Cup semi-final in their history.

“These nights of football are rare and you have to live and play them. Anxiety, commitment, nerves… the players feel all of that. Those who manage to overcome all of that and play the match will have an advantage.”

Atleti will of course be looking to snatch a vital away-goal – something they prevented their neighbours from doing in the 0-0 draw at the Calderón.

“We have not beaten Atletico this season because they are a very strong side with one of the most solid defences in the world,” Carlo Ancelotti told the media.

“It is difficult to score goals against them. It will be a close game, hard-fought in all areas and intense. I do not think that Atletico will be in a hurry to score and neither will we.”

We hope we can prove him wrong, and snatch an important early goal.

Real Madrid squad list:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Keylor Navas
Defenders: Pacheco, Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Carvajal, Arbeloa, Nacho
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Khedira, Lucas Silva, Isco, Illarramendi
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Chicharito, Jesé

Atlético squad list:
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak
Defenders: Godín, Siqueira, Gámez, Ansaldi, Juanfran, Miranda, Giménez, Lucas
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Gabi, Saúl, Cani
Forwards: Griezmann, Mandzukic, Raúl Jiménez and Fernando Torres

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    I’m up super early and getting pumped up for this game, I’m just getting over a cold but fear not guys for my voice shall be ready to yell and shout and cheer our team on. It’s time to stamp our dominance and if we can win this I think we’ll be in for a very special finale to our season.


  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    The most important player of Real Madrid is missing… Without Modric, our chances of winning has increassed.. Also Bale and Marcelo are missing..

  • Chewie

    The absence of Modric, Marcelo and Bale doesn’t make it easier, it makes it different and opens up new possibilities. I think we’ll push through their left wing and will aim for more crazy throw-ins from Gamez. I would choose him over Siqueira for this game. Plus, since they’ve lost three of the most important creative/attacking players, it will be crucial to control the midfield. I would bench Gabi and let Tiago play alongside Saul and Koke. Plus, Torres should play instead of Mandzukic. The game is going to be super-tough, battles for possession and territory raging all over. But I’m with Ujfalusi – it can and must be won.

  • Abdil Egriøz

    Real is missing vital players today and we HAVE to take advantage of that. The season is coming to an end and so far it has been, more than good year. Even if we dont go through to the semi’s it wont change the fact that we’ve done better than many people would’ve thought with new players. It still hurts to think back on last years chl campaign but what a comeback it would be if we won it this year. I am of course dreaming right now and coming this far for the second year in a row is already a big achievement. Lets go ATLETI!

  • Abdil Egriøz

    I feel calm right now which is unusual because I’ve felt more excited during the group stages. Maybe it’s because we’re meeting real or the many absents they have but real at home is never to be underestimated. Nevetheless I know that as soon as the ref blows the whistle I’ll be cheering and yelling with full power. I kinda love these matches because they are so nerve-racking but when they are won they give one joy for days.