Having confirmed their place at the top of their Champions League group in midweek, it’s back to La Liga for Atlético Madrid with a trip to the lowly but notoriously difficult Osasuna.
Both teams need the win for different reasons; Atleti have dropped to sixth in the standings after two successive defeats, whereas Los Rojillos currently sit second bottom with just one win all season.
Kick-off in Pamplona is set for 16:15 CET.
In the two team’s last meeting back in 2013-14, Atleti were handed a 3-0 beating at El Sadar, a result that could have seen the wheels come off of our famous charge towards the La Liga title.
As it were, Diego Costa and co went on to lift the trophy and the following day Osasuna were relegated in dramatic fashion. Since then, the two teams have gone their separate ways.
After a difficult first campaign in Segunda, the Rojillos won promotion back to the top flight last season via the play-offs, but they haven’t had things there own way so far in their comeback campaign.
Osasuna were always known as a team that caused problems for the top sides – especially at home – but just one win from their first 10 games lead to the sacking of manager Enrique Martín earlier this month.
Martín was replaced by Joaquín Caparros, and despite getting off to a losing start away at Leganés last weekend, the veteran manager called on his team to spring a surprise on Sunday.
“Atlético play with great intensity, and we have to at least equal that,” he told press. “It’s my home debut and we have to give the fans something, I want to see a team with heart and soul.”
Diego Simeone was handed a blow when Filipe Luís limped off in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over PSV, and it was confirmed after the game that the Brazilian had suffered a thigh injury and would face a spell out.
Lucas Hernández is set to start at left-back in his absence, with Josema Giménez also likely to keep his place alongside Diego Godín in defence ahead of Stefan Savic.
Fernando Torres is out with an injury suffered in training on Thursday, prompting Cholo to give Uruguayan teenager Nicolás Schiappacasse a first ever call-up in attack.
The 17 year-old joined in the summer from River Plate Montevideo where he was already a first team regular, and has featured for Atleti B and in the UEFA Youth League this season.
Ahead of the match, Simeone insisted that the league is still his priority despite 3 losses in 4 matches, and that he wants to give the fans reasons to be proud after last week’s drubbing in the derby.
“I’ve always said that the league means everything to me,” he stressed. “At all the clubs I have been, the league is the most important thing for both the fans and the club.”
“We are going to face a team which needs to pick up a good result. They are managed by a coach I have a lot of respect for and will play a high-tempo game.”
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moyá
Defenders: Godín, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Thomas, Gaitán
Forwards: Griezmann, Correa, Gameiro, Schiapacasse