Atletico Madrid put in a very solid display against Bayern Munich in their Semi-final encounter at the Vincente Calderón, which has left many in doubt of Bayern’s chances of making it into the final.
But lest we forget, Bayern are an entirely different side on home soil so Atletico might be in for their game of the season in mid-week.
Diego Simeone has proven that it’s not about the number of soldiers in the arsenal rather it’s about how those troops are used in battle and Atletico have duly utilized their player’s abilities to get them this far in Europe’s elite club competition.
There has been a recent trend in the UCL whereby any team that knocks Barcelona out of the competition goes on to win the Champions League.
Atletico took Barcelona out of the UCL in spectacular fashion but at this stage, they’ll surely be looking towards more than superstition and luck to get them through to the finals.
Pep Guardiola’s time at Bayern is virtually over and all that’s left to play for in realistic terms is the Champions League as he’s not been able to bring the coveted trophy to the Allianz Arena ever since he took over at Bayern.
Atletico will approach the game at the Allianz with a lot of caution to avoid being caught on the break by the likes of Kingsley Coman and Lewandowski, who were kept quiet by Atletico’s sturdy defence throughout the first leg.
Diego Godin and Gimenez will play a crucial role in thwarting most of Bayern’s attacking moves but in typical fashion, all the Atleti players will probably sit deep in their own half of the pitch waiting for an opportunity to initiate a counter attack through their main attacking outlets – Antoine Griezmann, Saul and Carrasco.
Saul was absolutely outstanding in the first leg as he scored a fantastic goal at the Calderón which saw him take on three Bayern players before putting the ball past Manuel Neuer. His goal has given Atleti the edge going into the second-leg and Simeone will surely be hoping that they can maintain or add to their slender one-goal advantage.
Atletico needs to be on high alert in the 2nd leg as we’ve seen many teams get utterly embarrassed at the Allianz in recent times due to the dynamism and fluidity that Bayern exhibit on their turf.
There’s no doubt that Guardiola has already prepared a special gameplan ahead of the tie – His counterpart, on the other hand, will have just one thing on his mind, and that’s maintaining their lead no matter what.
Simeone will surely be happy to come out of the Allianz with a goalless draw due to the onslaught Bayern is expected to launch at the LA Liga title contenders.
Atletico needs to keep their wits about them though as misplaced passion could cost them dearly with the referee set to be on high alert due to Atletico’s physical style of play.
A return to the UCL final will most definitely be something to relish for Atletico supporters and they may very well be on course to facing their City rivals Real Madrid in what would be a repeat of the 2013/14 final which saw Los Merengues claim their tenth UCL trophy.
But it all depends on how Manchester City lineup at the Bernabeau. The Sky Blues need to bring their A-game to stand a chance against the most dominant side to have ever featured in the Champions League.
This set of Semi-final fixtures are quite intriguing to say the very least as no single team is guaranteed a ticket to the finals just yet and the fact that they’re evenly matched on all fronts doesn’t help one bit.
So who will enjoy the taste of Victory and who will suffer the agony of defeat? Well, it’s all set to go down in midweek so let’s keep our eyes fixated on the UCL to see who comes out on top.