Saul's superb solo run sends Simeone's side to Germany with first leg lead

Saul's superb solo run sends Simeone's side to Germany with first leg lead
Image credit: VAVEL
Atlético Madrid
1 0
Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid: (4-4-2) Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Savic, Filipe Luis; Koke, Gabi, Fernandez, Saúl Niguez (Partey 85'); Griezmann, Torres.
Bayern Munich: (4-2-3-1) Neuer; Lahm, Javi Martinez, Alaba, Bernat (Benatia 77'); Xabi Alonso, Vidal; Coman (Ribéry 64'), Thiago (Müller 70'), Douglas Costa; Lewandowski.
SCORE: 1-0, Saul 11'.
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (ENG). Booked: Douglas Costa (40'), Benatia (82'), Neuer (82'), Saul (84'), Vidal (88').

Saul's superb strike has proved to be the difference on an evening where both Bayern and Atléti rattled the woodwork. It's all to play for in Munich! From Jonathan Walsh, I bid you good night and good evening. We'll have a report and all the reactions available in due course!


90+3' Benatia almost grabs the equaliser! Ribery whips one from deep and picks out the Moroccan defender, but he can't quite get enough on the header.

90+2' Costa tries to make the difference with a mazy run after nutmegging Filipe Luis - his cross curls behind the by-line, however.

90' Four minutes added on at the end of the second half.

88' A yellow for Vidal, hardly a surprise given the amount of times he has been spoken to by Clattenburg.

87' A Costa cross almost catches out Oblak but he retreats and catches confidently. Bayern are slowly running out of time here.

85' Yellow for Saul as he trudges off the pitch to be replaced by Partey - standing ovation from the home support.

82' Yellow for Benatia and Neuer. The former for a nasty tackle on Koke, Neuer for trying to lift him off the pitch.

80' It's Alaba who is next to have a sight at goal and he skews one wide from 20 yards. The home fans are trying to encourage their team towards the final whistle, and they don't have long left to go.

77' Final Bayern change sees Benatia replace Bernat, letting Alaba move to left-back.

75' POST AND SAVED! That was the chance on the break from Atléti. They speed forward and Torres tricks his way through, only to see his finish come back off the post. Koke picks up the rebound but has his shot saved by Neuer.

74' Almost the equaliser! A superb stop from Oblak denies Vidal from netting a long-range stunner. That's why he's kept 22 clean sheets in La Liga this season.

73' Atléti get some momentary respite through a free-kick deep in the Bayern half but it's easily cleared and they're back on the front foot. This will be a long 15 minutes..

70' The main man is on now - Müller replaces Thiago, will he be the difference maker in midfield?

67' Even with Bayern dominating it's a real struggle for them to break down their opponents. Atléti are standing firm and don't look like giving up a goal anytime soon.

64' Oblak parries Lewandowski's cross-cum-shot as Ribéry replaces Coman - can the veteran provide a much-needed breakthrough?

63' Interestingly, still no changes from either side. The game could do with fresh legs on either side, or a new spark up top.

60' An hour gone and all the momentum is in the visitors' favour. Plenty of time for the game to ebb and flow both ways, still.

56' Bayern go close again! Atléti let Martinez rise unchallenged from a corner and should have been punished, but for Oblak to bail them out.

54' WHAT A GOAL THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN! From all of 40 yards David Alaba strides forwards and rockets the ball off the bar.

50' Much better start for the visitors who now look like a threat to the Atléti goal as they manage to hack Vidal's effort clear.

47' Early opening for Bayern - a long ball towards Alaba sees him nod in towards Coman, though he can't direct his header on target.

Second half! We're back underway for the second period, no changes on either side.

HT! Atlético lead 1-0 at the break thanks to the most magnificent and satisfying solo run from Saul. There hasn't been much between the two sides, but the hosts have probably shaded things.

45' Just one minute added on in Madrid.

43' Not many stoppages in this first half and it looks like we'll be hearing the half-time whistle very shortly. Atléti looking composed as we head to the break.

40' First yellow card of the evening: Douglas Costa into the book.

38' A free-kick from deep provides another chance for Bayern to work Oblak, though Thiago's delivery is too long and easily gathered by the Slovenian stopper.

36' Another shot goes astray for the Bundesliga leaders who have looked more lively as the half as gone on - a goal now would make all the difference going into the break.

34' Now they give him something to do. Bayern break quickly but Atléti get back even quicker, Coman manages to fire in a cross but it's dealt with well by Oblak. 

33' 15 or so to go until the break and the visitors are yet to test Oblak. Guardiola won't be best pleased so far, as Koke's free-kick is easily cleared.

30' Chance for the hosts now! Griezmann manages to wriggle past the Bayern defence but can't find a way past Neuer at his near post.

28' More possession and nothing doing for Guardiola's side. Lahm strikes a shot from the edge of the area and cries hand ball, but Clattenburg remains unmoved.

25' Bayern thought they'd equalised there! Douglas Costa whips a free-kick in from the left and it ripples the side netting. The Brazil winger almost caught Jan Oblak off guard.

23' It's been a possession-based game for the visitors so far, as per usual, though they're making little headway. Lewandowski beginning to get frustrated with a lack of service.

20' Lewandowski and Bayern move forward down the right but little comes from it. Atlético have been staunch in defence and have been by far the better side.

18' Replays showing absolutely no emotion from Simeone after that goal. He knows that there are still plenty of twists and turns left in this game.

15' It's calmed down slightly are that mad period of play. That's just what Atléti needed and they can sit back now if needs be. Initially, it looks like they'll just keep on pressing.

12' It could have been 1-1! Jose Gimenez spares his own blushes as a poor clearance finds Vidal, before the defender heads out from underneath his own crossbar.

You'll not see a better solo goal this season! Saul picks the ball up in the centre circle before driving and dribbling round the Bayern midfield and defence. He cuts inside and curls past Neuer - simply superb, that's livened things up!


8' That's soon added to by an in-form Fernando Torres, though his effort is really tame and easy for the visiting stopper.

7' Despite the early promise from Bayern, it's been all pressure from Simeone's side since. Not to the script so far. Neuer holds on to a long range shot, the first on target for either side.

5' Another free-kick for the hosts is headed up and cleared away by Vidal. Clattenburg seems quite whistle-happy in the early stages.

3' Arturo Vidal already talking to Clattenburg about some tough tackling. Midfielder feels hard done by after he gets the ball from Koke; free-kick leads to nothing.

1' Some tidy stuff from the visitors early on who trying to work down the left, only to be forced back by Atléti.

Kick-off! We're off and underway in Madrid!

19:43. Incredible choreo from the home fans who boo and whistle through the Champions League anthem. Mark Clattenburg is the man in charge this evening.

19:42. We're just 180 minutes, at least, to finding out which of these sides will be heading to Milan. Both looks relaxed in the tunnel - focused on what is ahead.

19:40. The teams are just about to come out into a cauldron of noise at the Calderon. This should be a cracker, or extremely cagey. Here's hoping for the former.

19:30. 15 minutes to go. Bayern have exited the Champions League to Spanish sides on the last two ocassions who have gone on to win the title. Can Atléti repeat the feat or will it by the Bavarians' time to shine?

19:25. While Atléti have their defence, Bayern have the competition's best attack. They've found the net 28 times so far this season, and know another tonight could prove crucial.

19:20. Atléti have a remarkable recent record against German sides in European competition. They have won through on their last six two-legged ties, with Dynamo Dresden the last side to conquer them. Bayer Leverkusen were the most recent team to taste defeat.

19:15. Half an hour until kick-off in Madrid, if you have any predictions be sure to tweet us @VAVEL!

19:10. Most people are hoping for a much better game this evening compared to yesterday's semi-final, which ended 0-0 between Real Madrid and Manchester City.

19:05. Atléti are largely set-up as expected. The only possible surprise is Stefan Savic getting the nod ahead of Lucas Hernandez. Augusto Fernandez replaces the injured Tiago in midfield.

19:00. Two strong teams from both sides, and it looks like Bayern may be playing it safe in the Spanish capital. No Müller is a curious decision by Pep Guardiola.

And the Bayern starting eleven: (4-2-3-1) Neuer; Lahm, Javi Martinez, Alaba, Bernat; Xabi Alonso, Vidal; Coman, Thiago, Douglas Costa; Lewandowski.

Team news time! Here's Atlético's line-up: (4-4-2) Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Savic, Filipe Luis; Koke, Gabi, Fernandez, Saúl Niguez; Griezmann, Torres.

If you want an even more in-depth look into how this game will be lost and won, check out Rosie Tudball's excellent pre-match analysis.

Unsurprisingly, the conductor of the Vincente Calderón outfit was at his usual, slightly metaphoric, best during the pre-match press conference: "Bayern have many options, but in battles, the side with the most soldiers does not [win], but who uses their soldiers better." The mind games have started, then.

"They're among the European football elite," declared Xabi Alonso. The former Real mdifielder is under no illusion as to just how strong Atléti are, having ran Los Blancos to the very end in a dramatic Lisbon final. He added, "[They're] competing for everything: the Liga, UEFA Champions League. They've installed themselves up there very quickly."

Bayern Munich predicted line-up: (4-1-4-1) Neuer; Lahm, Martinez, Alaba, Bernat; Vidal; Douglas Costa, Thiago, Müller, Coman; Lewandowski.

Atlético Madrid predicted line-up: (4-4-2) Oblak; Juanfran, Lucas Hernandez, Giminez, Filipe Luis; Saul Niguez, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco; Torres, Griezmann.

Guardiola's side travel to Madrid with more players that will miss the game rather than their opponents, but have been handed a huge boost with the improved fitness of Jerome Boateng. Whether he will be able to start remains to be seen. Sebastian Rode is also a doubt, and Arjen Robben and Holger Badstuber will definitely not play any part.

Atlético have had a mixed day on the teams news front. While Fernando Torres has returned from suspension and looks set to partner Antoine Griezmann up front. They will be without Tiago and star centre-back Diego Godin, however. The Uruguayan will be replaced by Lucas Hernandez, who has the unenviable task of dealing with Robert Lewandowski and the other Bayern attackers.

Can Atlético keep Lewandowski quiet? | Image source: Getty Images
Can Atlético keep Lewandowski quiet? | Image source: Getty Images

While both teams have endured contrasting fortunes since, they are now on a level playing field but both have vastly different approaches. Diego Simeone's men are heralded for their remarkable defensive ability, and have given up just 16 goals in 35 league games this term. Pep Guardiola and his Bavarian comrades find themselves in a position to win a treble this season; they need just three more points to secure the Bundesliga title and are in the final of the DFB-Pokal.

The last meeting between these two sides came in the 1974 European Cup final. Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck's last-minute equaliser broke Spanish hearts in Brussels, after Luis Aragonés' 116th-minute goal looked to have won it for Atléti. The teams met again four days later in the replay, and it was a completely different story. Uli Hoeneß and Gerd Müller both notched up braces in a 4-0 win; the first of three consecutive European Cup triumphs for that great Bayern side.

Good evening and welcome to VAVEL UK's live coverage of Atlético Madrid's mammoth clash against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final. It is the first time these two sides have met in over four decades and promises to be a tie that could be remembered for just as long.