Tomorrow at 8:00 UTC+1 Atlético kick off against Bayer Leverkusen in their second Europa League group game.
The holding champions lost to Aris (1-0) two weeks ago, while the Germans convincingly beat Rosenborg.
Leverkusen won 4-0, with a hat-trick scored by Patrick Helmes. The striker isn’t entirely fit, but has been selected for tomorrow’s match.
The club’s most famous player, Michael Ballack, is injured, but even without him the club are off to a good start in the Bundesliga. They currently occupy the 4th place in the rankings.
Back in 1988 Leverkusen won their only UEFA Cup when they beat Espanyol in the final. Their coach Jupp Heynckes seems positive about the club’s chances this year and tells that they’ve come to Madrid to win:
“We’re not afraid of Atlético. The Vicente Calderón is an imposing stadium, but we have come to win.”
Heynckes, who coached Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid in the past, recognised Atleti as a dangerous side.
“I know a thing or two about Spanish football and it’s clear that Atlético have improved under Quique Sánchez Flores. They’re very organised and have found the balance between defending and attacking.”
AtléticoFans have been informed that Leverkusen are an offensive side indeed, and do expect the Germans not to hold back. They have young and electric players in midfield and many players that can score a goal.
However along with Michael Ballack they will also be missing forward Kiessling, who was part of the Mannschaft last summer that reached to the semi-finals of the World Cup.
With these injuries it looks as if young Swiss striker Derdiyok will start. It remains to be seen if Helmes is fit enough to play.
Here’s Leverkusen’s match selection:
Goalkeepers: Adler, Fernández
Defenders: Hyypiä, Schwaab, Kadlec, Reinartz, Friedrich, Vida
Midfielders: Kaplan, Balitsch, Bender, Rolfes, Vidal, Renato Augusto, Barnetta, Sam
Forwards: Derdiyok, Helmes and Jörgensen.
When asked if he will rest some players for our upcoming clash against Sevilla, Quique Sánchez Flores said “the best players should always play for Atleti.”
But the coach will be forced to make some changes to his line-up, with Diego Godin unavailable through injury.
It’s likely that Luis Perea will take Diego’s place in defence, with Ujfalusi coming into the line-up at rightback. The Czech defender was suspended during our last two league matches for his dismissal against Barcelona.
Quique wasn’t giving any hints away on who he will start up front with Diego Forlán tomorrow night.
Sergio Agüero seems to have recovered from his knee injury suffered against Athletic, but the coaching staff doesn’t seem to want to take any risks with the Argentine.
Diego Costa however isn’t entirely fit either. The Brazilian did well as Kun’s replacement last Sunday, where he scored the only goal of the match against Zaragoza.
Here’s our match selection:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Valera, López, Filipe, Ujfalusi, Domínguez, Perea
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Camacho, Raúl García, Fran Mérida, Assunção, Reyes, Simão
Forwards: Forlán, Agüero and Diego Costa.
We are very curious to see who will play at left-back. Who do you guys prefer there?
Oh, and don’t forget to leave your prediction in the AtléticoFans Prediction League!