Three finals remain for Atleti. Two in La Liga and then there is that small match up in Milan. First, all three title contenders will play simultaneously at 17:00 CEST this Sunday afternoon.
Real Madrid play at home to Valencia who they have not beaten in the Bernabeu in four years. Barcelona is engaged in a derby in which Espanyol will hope to ruin Barca’s hopes and Atleti face their bogey team.
The Estadio Ciutat de Valencia has previously been a formidable fortress for Simeone who has never won there. In 2014 it almost cost our La Liga title in the dying moments of the season, following an own goal by Filipe Luis and a goal by Barral. But following a rousing speech by Simeone, asking to turn the stadium red and white, 1,500 Colchoneros will cheer on the team and make it feel like we play in the Calderón.
That has already begun as the team was greeted by hundreds of fans with flares at their hotel, similar to what we have seen before a big Champions League clash.
Last weekend Levante lost to Malaga 3-1 which sealed their relegation meaning that we will be playing a team with nothing more to lose but pride. Levante’s manager Rubi has already said that the team will seek to win their last game in Spain’s top flight football.
Atleti, of course, beat Rayo Vallecano last weekend thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s first touch on the pitch and will face Celta at home next weekend in the final La Liga match of the season. Earlier in the season Atleti beat Levante 1-0 in the Calderón with a goal by Thomás.
Simeone will be side-lined as he misses his second of three matches banned from the bench following the mystery ball incident against Malaga. On the pitch, however, Atleti can boast a full squad as Tiago has finally been declared match fit. Although, Oblak missed Wednesday’s training session at the Wanda Training Ground following a knock in Munich, he was back the very next day.
Although the partido a partido is the unwavering back-bone of Simeone’s ideology we may see a few rotations in the side as was the case against Rayo Vallecano. We could see Correa or Vietto start in front of Griezmann who would likely come on if the goals don’t come early. Furthermore, if there is still some concern over Oblak it is possible we could see Moyá step up.
Filipe Luis put it best when speaking to Marca “Levante is going to do a great game for their own pride. They are professionals. I have bad memories of the stadium and I hope to change that. If we win this one and the next one we will have done our part.”
A must win at stadium we have previously struggled to win at. It’s bound to be another Atleti-emotional-rollercoaster and you can follow the match live with us here at AtleticoFans.com.