After their midweek Copa del Rey exploits, Atlético Madrid return to La Liga action on Saturday afternoon with a trip to face fellow semi-finalists Alavés.
The red and whites were surprisingly held by the newly promoted side on the opening day of the season, and will want to avoid a repeat performance this weekend.
Kick-off in the Mendizorrotza is set for 16:15 CET.
Having drawn at the Calderón, won at the Camp Nou and made the Copa semi-finals, Alavés have been one of the revelations of the Spanish football season so far.
The Basque side were also promoted twice in four seasons to rise back up to La Liga from Segunda B, and are now looking to re-establish their place in the top flight after a decade away.
Atleti on the other hand need three points to keep their place in the top four – never mind to keep pressure on the sides above them – with the likes of Real Sociedad and Villarreal hot on their tail.
Captain Gabi will not make the trip to Vitoria-Gasteiz after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the first of Atleti’s three trips to the Basque Country this week in the 2-2 draw at San Mamés.
Fellow midfielders Augusto and Tiago, (injury) and Thomas (international duty) are also still out, leaving Simeone with just Koke and Saúl for the holding positions. Atleti B midfielder Keidi has been called up as back-up.
In attack, Kevin Gameiro is expected to keep his place despite misfiring in recent months, and will hope to break his two month scoring drought in the league against the side he scored against from the penalty spot on his Atleti debut.
Fellow Frenchman Lucas Hernández is also fit again and returned at Eibar in midweek, and if he plays he’ll come up against brother Theo who has been cleared to play for the home side.
Theo has enjoyed a real breakout season with Mauricio Pellegrino’s team, and will be looking to impress his parent club who opted not to invoke the ‘clause of fear’ despite paying the price in the past.
Alavés are unbeaten at six at home and have only lost twice at the Mendizorrotza stadium all season, and have earned the reputation as giant killers for their results against the big teams.
Still, both will most likely be affected physically by their respective cup runs and may have one eye on the semi-final, despite needing the three points on Saturday for different reasons.
After the match, preparation will begin for Wednesday’s match against Barcelona, with Alavés travelling to Celta Vigo the following night for their first leg.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gaitán, Keidi
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro