The Champions League matchday two gets back in action as famous top clubs lock horns with each other in some of the mouth-watering fixtures in midweek. One of those epic clashes will be when FC Bayern visit the Vicente Calderon to face last season’s runners-up in Atletico Madrid.
The match will be a repeat of last season’s semi-final where Atleti progressed thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s goal.
Down the years, Bayern, under Pep Guardiola have found it really difficult to win back the precious trophy after their success in the 2013 season. The Bavarians come into the game having lost three successive Champions League games in Spain, failing to score a single goal at that time.
However, since the appointment of former Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti in the summer, Bayern have looked really promising in both domestic and international competitions. The 26th time record German champions have started their Bundesliga campaign in incredible fashion, sitting pretty at the top with 15 points in five games.
Not just in Bundesliga, Die Roten have won 19 of their previous 23 group stage games in the Champions League(D1, L3), Keeping 13 clean sheets and failing to score only once in that run (0:2 v Arsenal).
Atletico, on the other hand, are experiencing a relatively rough time in the Spanish Liga this term. In their six matches so far this season, Diego Simeone’s troops have failed to win in three fixtures, gathering just 12 points and occupying the third place. However, Los Colchoneros have kept on their impressive defensive record from last season, conceding just two goals, they are the least-conceding team in the league and unsurprisingly so.
Despite their Champions League experience in recent years, it will, somewhat, be a startling fact that this will be Atletico’s fourth consecutive Champions League campaign, which is the longest run in the club’s history. The Red and Whites reached the final in 2013/14 and 2015/16 campaign whilst being eliminated in the Quarterfinals in 2014/15 season.
In that three-year run, Atleti have lost just twice in their 19 group stage encounters, winning 14 and drawing three. The major reason of Atletico’s impressive performance has been the defensive stability which has been brought into the team by head coach Diego Simeone, they have kept a clean sheet in 10 of their last 12 Champions League matches, conceding just three in that total run. Bayern really have a job on their hands!
Atletico will go into the match without Uruguayan defender Jose Gimenez, who has been suffering a groin problem while Argentine midfielder Augusto Fernandez will be out for half a year after damaging his knee at the weekend. Portuguese midfielder Tiago will also be an absentee as the experienced midfielder is out due to a hamstring injury.
Bayern Munich are slowly starting to make use of the players who were injured a few weeks ago as long time absentees Arjen Robben as Jerome Boateng made their first appearances in the Englische Woche last week. In the weekend’s win over Hamburg, head coach Carlo Ancelotti decided to rest key players such as Arturo Vidal, Arjen Robben, Xabi Alonso while Mats Hummels picked up a knock to his knee but has trained since. The former Dortmund defender could line up alongside Jerome Boateng for the first time wearing a Bayern shirt.
Atletico Madrid: (4-4-2 formation) Jan Oblak; Juanfran, Stefan Savic, Diego Godin, Felipe Luis; Nico Gaitan, Koke, Saul Niguez, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco; Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann
FC Bayern: (4-3-3 formation) Manuel Neuer; Philip Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, David Alaba; Arturo Vidal, Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcantara; Thomas Muller. Robert Lewandowski, Franck Ribery
Prediction: Atletico 0:0 Bayern