Atlético travel to Barcelona buoyed by back-to-back 4-0 performances and the possible return of Brazilian playmaker Diego, who missed out on midweek action against Sporting with a muscle injury.
The most exciting clash of the weekend kicks off on Saturday at 22:00 CET at the Camp Nou.
Striker Radamel Falcao García will look to capitalise on a suspect Barcelona defence that has struggled to reach peak form following a slew of injuries.
The Colombian has launched himself to the forefront of the Pichichi race with a blistering five goals in two matches.
“It’s a special match for any player who takes part in this type of game,” Falcao said in the pre-game press conference.
“Barcelona’s strength is taking possession of the ball, but it will be a well-disputed match.
“We know how to play with and without the ball and will have to be patient when they have it, and use it well when we have control.”
Atlético fans have been spoiled the last couple of years when it comes to forwards, having witnessed countless goals being banged in by the likes of Fernando Torres, Diego Forlán and Sergio Agüero.
What the Colchonero faithful isn’t accustomed to is control of the midfield and solid play at the back.
Los Rojiblancos’ back line has recorded seven shutouts in nine official matches, including three clean sheets on the trot.
But Atleti’s defence will be put to the ultimate challenge against the Catalans’ lethal attack force led by Lionel Messi.
The Argentine superstar has scored 11 goals in 10 games against us and comes into this bout tied with Falcao and Valencia’s Roberto Soldado at the top of the league’s goal scoring chart.
Atleti haven’t won at the Culés’ home stadium since February of 2006. Since then, it’s been nothing but thrashings at the hands of Barça there.
In our last four visits, we have been outscored by a 17-3 margin.
Atlético youth system product and bearer of La Liga’s finest ‘fro Mario Suárez isn’t afraid of the European giants though.
“We’re going for the victory with no fear,” he said.
“We’re going to the Camp Nou for the three points. We know we have to stay grounded. This has just started and to stay happy we have to do things well on the pitch.”
According to Radio Marca, Diego fully participated in Friday’s training session and will be available to coach Gregorio Manzano on Saturday.
Silvio, who re-injured his groin in our win over Sporting on Wednesday, was left off the match selection.
Sergio Asenjo, Diego Godín, Tiago and Juanfran return to the squad and travel to Barcelona.
Jorge Pulido, Pizzi, Joel and Assunçao will stay back in Madrid through tactical decision.
Centre-back Gerard Piqué has reportedly recovered from his ailments and could feature for Barça on Saturday.
Barcelona are coping with the injury blow of long-time Atleti target Ibrahim Afellay, who faces six months out with a knee injury after an unfortunate incident in training Thursday.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Antonio López, Filipe Luis, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Arda, Gabi, Koke, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao
Barcelona match selection (TBA)
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro
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