Atlético Madrid face some welcome respite from their faltering league campaign on Tuesday night, with the pressure off as they travel to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Having already won Group D ahead of the German side, the rojiblancos will be looking to become only the sixth side in history to record a perfect group stage with a win at the Allianz Arena.
Kick-off is set for 20:45 CET.
When the draw was made, most would have expected the final matchday meeting in Munich to have a lot more riding on it, so the fact that it’s essentially a dead rubber will be a relief to fans given recent form.
Having won just 2 of their last 6 league matches, alarm bells have been raised at Atlético as they dropped points yet again on Saturday with a disappointing draw and performance at home to Espanyol.
Cholo’s men have been a far cry from their best in La Liga, looking short of ideas and without the character and identity that has brought so much success in recent year.
However, in the Champions League we’ve seen the more efficient, dogged team that can grind out results and outplay Europe’s elite on a tactical and physical level.
With 5 wins out of 5, the red and whites can join Milan (92/93), PSG (94/95), Spartak Moscow (95/96), Barcelona (02/03) and Real Madrid (11/12 & 14/15) and take maximum points from the group stage.
None of those teams went on to actually lift the trophy though, and given our current issues, the match could be a good chance to experiment and give fringe players a run against quality opposition.
Bayern will want revenge for their loss at the Calderón back in September and their semi-final defeat last season, but manager Carlo Ancelotti is also expected to rotate according to reports.
The Bavarian side also haven’t had things all their own way this season. They currently trail newly promoted side RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, and lost to Champions League debutants Rostov two weeks ago to concede top spot in the group.
Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference that Jerome Boateng won’t play due to a shoulder injury, but that Arturo Vidal and Philip Lahm are likely to feature. Xabi Alonso will definitely miss out.
Atleti on the other hand have Fernando Torres back fit, but Simeone has opted to rest Filipe Luís – only just back from injury and a booking away from suspension – and Tiago Mendes.
The likes of Lucas Hernández, Sime Vrsaljko and Ángel Correa could be in for starting roles, and teenage midfielder Caio Henrique has also been called up after his impressive debut against Guijuelo last week.
Earlier in the day, Atleti’s Under-19 side will take on their Bayern counterparts in the UEFA Youth League, and must avoid defeat to qualify for the last 16 or play-off rounds.
If you’re making the trip to Munich, make sure to wrap up warm as temperatures could drop as low as -3º according to weather reports.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moyá, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Thomas, Gaitán, Caio
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro
Referee: Clément Turpin (France)