Champions League preview: Bayern vs. Atlético

Atleti looking to maintain their perfect record with a win in freezing Munich

Atleti have good recent memories from the Allianz

Atleti have good recent memories from the Allianz

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)


  • Kris

    Why Tiago not make the trip?

  • Hannu

    Maybe just resting. 😉

  • Koke

    Do you guys think we should go all out for a win or take it easy since the group is all wrapped up already? Honestly I think we should take this game seriously, for a few reasons:

    1) We have a special opportunity to become one of only a few clubs ever to win a group with 18 points.
    2) If we can beat Bayern Munich again, we can reiterate how powerful and big a club we are.
    3) It will be good practice for later in the competition when we inevitably come up against another giant, maybe even Bayern.
    4) Cash prize for each win in the CL.

    Maybe the first couple reasons may seem sentimental and impractical, but I do not think they are – at least not now. It’s clear that the team is frustrated, demoralized, and having an identity crisis. I’m not seeing the old Atleti that had more determination and grit than was humanly possible, the one where the players left every drop of blood on the field. The 1-0 to Sevilla stopped us in our tracks, the 2-0 to Sociedad pushed us down to the ground, and the 3-0 to Madrid seems to have held us down and kicked us in the balls. Now the draw to Espanyol is threatening to start a brand new slump for us again. Yes, yes, I know we shouldn’t think the world is ending just because we dropped a few points, but if something doesn’t bring the players back to their best selves soon our right to Champion’s League football next season could be in serious jeopardy. If we aren’t in the CL next year that would be a MASSIVE blow to the club.

    Even though we should try our best to win the game, we should also use this unique no-stakes opportunity to do some experiementation. Gaitan should start as a creative playmaker, maybe Correa too. Perhaps Torres could use another chance, but it’s imperative we get Gameiro and Griezmann scoring again also.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    I’m in a bet for a thousand dollars and some change so i would definitely prefer to win this game in all honesty

  • Kris

    Yeah, that’s what I was hoping for it to be. I was afraid he might have picked up another injury again, but thankfully that is not the case. Thanks for the response.