Atlético handed tough Champions League draw

Rojiblancos to face Bayern Munich, PSV and FC Rostov in the group stage


Atlético Madrid will play against Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven and FC Rostov in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League this season.

The draw took place in the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Thursday evening, with the red and whites placed into Group D alongside three very difficult opponents.

A trip to Russia and matches against two domestic champions are not what the travelling Atleti delegation would have wanted, but will be a good challenge as we look to reach the final in Cardiff next June.

As you’ll probably remember, Bayern and PSV were two of our opponents in last year’s knock-out stage, both of whom pushed us right to the limit in intense, nerve-wracking matches.

One of our three European Cup finals came against Bayern Munich back in 1974, as late drama saw the German side lift the trophy after a replay.

They are now managed by Carlo Ancelotti, who took the reins from Pep Guardiola from the summer. The Italian enjoyed a number of good battles with Atleti and Simeone in his two years at Real Madrid.

Whilst we were victorious three times in La Liga – including THAT 4-0 win – and beat them in the Spanish Super Cup final, Ancelotti was triumphant in the 2014 Champions League final and 2015 quarter-final.

Meanwhile, we take on PSV for the third time in 8 years, and the Dutch side will want revenge after losing narrowly in a pulsating penalty shoot-out at the Calderón last March.

They were also on the wrong side of two defeats back in the 2008/09 group stage, back when Javier Aguirre was in charge of a much different Atleti spearheaded by Sergio Agüero and Diego Forlán.

Champions League debutants FC Rostov make-up the group, and like all Russian teams will pose a difficult challenge given the freezing conditions in the winter months.

Having finished second in their league last season, they qualified in style with a 5-2 thrashing of European stalwarts Ajax 5-2 in the play-offs. Their Olimp-2 stadium holds just 15,840, but has a grass pitch unlike others in Russia with artificial surfaces.

“It’s a strong group full of great teams,” said club director Clemente Villaverde. “Last year we proved we can eliminate Bayern and anybody else, we’ll work hard to try and get through.”

Antoine Griezmann was also in attendance, but lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo for the UEFA Best Player award. Elsewhere, Saúl’s stunner against Bayern came fifth in the vote for last season’s best goal.

Are you happy with the draw? How do you expect us to fare?

  • Koke

    Really tough group from our perspective. Bayern Munich was the hardest possible opponent we could have gotten from Pot 1 (can’t play other Spanish teams in the group stage) and PSV are arguable the best team in Pot 3. We really really struggled against both teams last year, and minor details were the reasons we advanced both times. I really don’t think that we are guaranteed a spot in the round of 16 this year, we will have to work for it. Don’t call me a pessimist but a realist. It is definitely plausible that we could lose all 6 points against Bayern and if we don’t beat PSV in both games anything is possible. Also, seeing our record in La Liga against the minnows is even more concerning. In any case, anything less than Champions League football would be a travesty for this side.

    On the optimistic side though, this will be a good test for us early in the competition. I’d rather have to face a heavyweight in the relative “safety” of the group stage when it’s more about measuring our strengths and weaknesses this season. I expect more defensive football in both legs against Bayern but I’m hoping we can at least turn on the style against the other two.

    On a side note, WTF UEFA? Anyone who claims this organization is impartial is blind or stupid. The EPL favoritism is incredible – every year Chelsea and Man U get wet dream groups (and still end up screwing up) and since neither is in the picture this year they decided to coddle Tottenham and Leicester, teams that would be in danger of bowing out had they been put in literally any other group. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really really proud and awed at Leicester for what they did last year, just as much as the next guy, but it’s completely ridiculous how we are in Pot 2 after making it to 2/3 finals of the last 3 years, besting Barca, Bayern, Madrid, etc along the way, meanwhile Leicester, a team in England’s second tier a matter of years ago is in Pot 1. And CSKA Moscow? Forget about it…

  • AnonX

    This coming two away games would be crucial and important because 28/8 – Away to Leganes, 11/9 Away to Celta before the away 14/9 at Eindhoven. Very important to get result against PSV away and then finally at the Calderon. So this starts Sunday actually. Whatever needed change it must happen this Sunday 28th.

  • AnonX

    God Speed ! Over and Out.

  • Urban

    Away game in Eindhoven is our main game of the group stage. I assume that if we win there and win with PSV and Rostov at home we will have 9 pts, which considering how rough the group is should be sufficient if we add some points from other games.

  • Michael Beer

    Different Subject – How come Juanfran didn’t make the Spanish international squad?

  • AndersAT

    Perhaps someone had a stroke and forgot to invite him, because he is obviously the best.

    On the subject: not a good draw. I would be surprised if we didn’t finish second, but we shouldn’t underestimate any of the opponents.

  • Michael Beer

    Thanks for indulging me off the subject.

    We are proven UCL competitors and if we don’t get through I’d be shocked given recent history and (isn’t our squad stronger this year?).

  • Koke

    Juanfran is the best right back in the world. Carvajal comes close, Bellerin will be really good one day, but Juanfran is the best defensively and one of the best offensively. Atleti players will continuously be underrated by the world, and honestly I’m usually not too concerned with that. Oblak, Godin, Griezmann, Filipe, etc are all some of the best if not the best players in their positions, but you never really hear the hype around them.

    I’m happier if Juanfran isn’t playing too much international football. He plays too damn much for club already as is.

  • Kris

    Yup, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t let any of my players leave for useless friendlies. I don’t even care if they don’t get called up for major tournaments, I just want them to play the best they can for Atleti. Unless they play for both the U.S. and Atletico, I would rather have all of our players training and resting for the club than for some fucking countries,,, but that’s probably a little selfish and nothing is up to me.

  • Tico

    Well first of all you can only in pot 1 if you’re defending champions or won your domestic league…

    Second I wouldn’t say tottenham got an easy group. I think both monaco and leverkrusen are on the same level!