After a convincing 3-0 win in the first leg last week, Atlético Madrid travel to Eibar on Wednesday night looking to seal their place in the Copa del Rey semi-final.
Goals from Antoine Griezmann, Ángel Correa and Kevin Gameiro put Simeone’s men in control of the tie a week ago, but they will still need to finish the job against José Mendilibar’s side.
Kick-off at Ipurúa is set for 19:15 CET.
In part one of their trilogy of trips to the Basque Country, the colchoneros were held 2-2 at San Mamés after taking the lead, falling behind and then equalising courtesy of a Griezmann wonder strike.
The result leaves Atleti even further behind the teams at the top of the table, and whilst there is still a lot to play for in La Liga, fans are starting to dream of cup glory.
Last week’s first leg win over Eibar was arguably the best attacking performance we’ve seen since the 7-1 thrashing of Granada back in October, and was much needed after recent critics of the team’s supposedly negative approach.
Barring a disaster, they should now finish the job and book a place in the semi-final, but Simeone has resisted the temptation to rest too many players and named a strong squad, just to be on the safe side.
Antoine Griezmann misses out having played all but 25 minutes of Atleti’s six matches so far this year and missed training on Monday, but elsewhere it’s full strength with the big names expected to play.
Canterano Roberto Núñez is called up for the first time since scoring on his debut against Guijuelo back in November, although Augusto, Tiago and Jan Oblak are still injured.
According to reports, we could Simeone line-up with both Fernando Torres and Kevin Gameiro in attack, as well as Ángel Correa in a wide position alongside compatriot Nico Gaitán.
Cholo spoke about the striker situation in his press conference, and reluctantly admitted that he would like see improvement in his forward line for the good of the team.
“We have quality strikers with a lot of different characteristics,” he said. I look to find the balance for each situation, hopefully they can find more regularity [in front of goal], the team needs it.”
“Rotations? We know that the cup is a different prospect to La Liga and is always complicated. We will play with respect for our rival and look to continue our good form, with our usual strength and intensity.”
With an important home match against Deportivo coming up in a few days, Eibar are expected to make changes after going down 4-0 at home to Barcelona last weekend.
They played host to Atleti earlier in the month, losing 2-0 despite dominating much of the match. If they play like that again on Wednesday, they will no doubt cause problems once more.
Meanwhile, Alavés became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals on Tuesday as they overcame second tier Alcorcón. They also happen to be the rojiblancos’ next league opponents on Saturday.
Real Madrid will hope to join them, but have it all to do against Celta tomorrow after a 2-1 first leg loss. Barcelona host Real Sociedad on Thursday as strong favourites after winning at Anoeta last week.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Gaitán
Forwards: Torres, Correa, Gameiro, Rober