Defending champions Atlético can clinch a berth into the Europa League round of 32 before their home crowd with a win against Aris on Matchday 5. The encounter will be do or die for the Greeks, as a loss would spell their elimination from the competition.
Atlético heads out to Greece today in preparation for its Europa League opening match against Aris Thessaloniki FC. The game takes place tomorrow night at 19:00 CET at the Greek side’s Harilaou Ground. Atleti will be looking to maintain their impressive form, which has carried the team to three straight victories against Inter Milan, Sporting Gijón and Athletic Bilbao to jump-start the 2010-11 campaign.
Europa League holders Atlético Madrid have been drawn in the same group as Bayer Leverkusen, Rosenborg and Aris Thessaloniki in the group stages of this season’s Europa League. It could have been a lot tougher for Atlético as we looked certain to be drawn with big-spenders Manchester City as they could only be placed in Groups A, B or C. Luckily they were drawn into Group A against Juventus, in perhaps the tie of the round.