After their derby humiliation at the weekend, Atlético Madrid will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.
The rojiblancos may have lost their last two in La Liga, but are the only team that still hold a 100% record in the Champions League and will want to maintain top spot in Group D with three points.
Kick-off in the Vicente Calderón is set for 20:45 CET.
Many are already ruling Atleti out of the running for a title push this season given recent form, and although Diego Simeone will never admit it publicly, the Champions League is where his priorities lie.
His team have made a perfect start to the current campaign with 4 wins from 4, qualifying in the last round with a late win over Rostov. The aim now will be to beat Bayern Munich to top spot in the group.
PSV on the other hand were eliminated after losing to the German champions last time out, but still make the trip with something to play for as they can claim a spot in the Europa League if they finish third.
Last season, they kept Atleti at bay for 120 minutes at the Calderón in the last 16 before eventually losing on penalties, and proved tough opposition earlier in the season when Saúl’s goal earned us a 1-0 win.
Diego Simeone has more or less a full squad at his disposal, with long term Augusto Fernández the only player missing. The Argentine underwent further surgery on his knee on Tuesday.
Reports suggest that he will make changes from the XI that were so comprehensively beaten in the derby, which could include Kevin Gameiro coming back in for Fernando Torres up front.
Nico Gaitán could also get his first minutes after injury, as could José Giménez – in line for a rare start having not even made the squad since recovering from a hamstring tear.
Also in the team he experimented with in training was Sime Vrsaljko, but it looks as if Cholo will stick with Gabi and Koke in midfield despite the pairing coming in for criticism in recent weeks.
In his press conference, the Argentine seemed keen to put Saturday’s disappointment behind him and focus on getting a result against PSV. Partido a partido.
“The motivation is to win,” he insisted. “The controversy, the situations… everything else is just a part of the game. I am paid to win, and that is all that matters.”
“We’re up against a team that also has the need to win, but we want to put ourselves in the best position possile to win the group, something that is very important to us.”
Like the hosts, PSV are also coming into the match on a poor run of form, winning just 2 of their last 10 matches in all competitions.
Not only have they crashed out of the Champions League, but they are also languishing six points behind leaders Feyenoord in the Eredivisie after a bright start.
Midfield engine Andrés Guardado – who had a penalty saved by Jan Oblak in the reverse fixture, misses out through injury, as do Jorrit Hendrix, Joshua Brent and Jürgen Locadia.
Preparation for the match was disrupted on Tuesday when their flight to Madrid was delayed by a bomb scare at Brabant Airport in Eindhoven, but thankfully they were given the all clear and trained in the Calderón this evening.
Both teams will know before kick-off what the latest situation with the group is, as Bayern’s trip to Rostov will take place at the earlier time of 6pm CET due to the freezing late night temperatures in Russia.
The German side need a win to keep the pressure on Atleti at the top of the group, but face a team who are strong at home and will also be keen to edge ahead of PSV in the race for the Europa League spot.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moyá
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Thomas, Gaitán
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (Belarus)