Two greats in European football prepare to go head to head in the Champions League semi-final’s tonight, as Atletico Madrid host Bayern Munich. The visitors will travel to Spain on the brink of retaining their fourth consecutive Bundesliga, whilst Atletico Madrid sit second in La Liga, with just goal difference separating themselves and Barcelona.
However, the Spaniards have already overcome the table toppers in the previous round of the Champions League; after going a goal ahead at the Camp Nou, Atleti eventually lost the tie as a Luis Suarez brace gifted Barcelona the advantage to take with them to the Calderón in the second leg.
In the end, it proved that the Fernando Torres away goal in Barcelona was the real advantage, as a Antoine Griezmann brace in Madrid left the final score at 3-2 to Atletico Madrid, knocking the holders out of the competition just as they did in 2014.
Bayern Munich progressed to the semi-finals in less dramatic fashion than their opponents, defeating Portuguese champions, Benfica. A Vidal goal within the first two minutes of the first leg in Munich gave Pep Guardiola’s team a slim advantage in the second leg. However, the second match up between the two, in Lisbon, proved to be much more entertaining than the first. A four goal thriller, which eventually ended 2-2, (3-2 to Bayern on aggregate), who also claimed two away goals in the process.
A big loss to Atletico Madrid is the absence of commanding centre back, Diego Godin, who has been ruled out of the game due to a hamstring injury. Midfielder Tiago Mendes will also not feature due to injury. A positive for Atletico will be that Fernando Torres’ suspension has expired, following his red card in the first leg of the quarter-finals. The striker has five goals in his last six games for his club.
Like Atletico, Bayern Munich will also be without their first choice centre back this evening as Jerome Boateng recovers from his long term injury, despite returning to light training this week. 'Mr Wembley', Arjen Robben, will join Boateng on the sidelines, as will Holger Badstuber.
Predicted Line ups
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2) Oblak; Felipe Luis, Hernandez, Gimenez, Juanfran; Carrasco, Gabi, Koke, Saul; Torres, Griezmann.
Bayern Munich (4-1-4-1) Neuer; Bernat, Alaba, Martinez, Lahm; Vidal; Ribery, Thiago, Muller, Costa; Lewandowski.
What to expect
In a game separated by attack and defence, the two sides will be eager to break down each other’s strengths as Atletico Madrid; notorious for their defensive solidity, will be desperate to resist pressure from Bayern Munich’s electrifying attacking capabilities.
Bayern Munich have lost just one of their champions league games this season, a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the group stage, Atletico have lost two, once to Benfica in the group stage and the first leg defeat to Barcelona.
Both teams have showcased their abilities to the world in this campaign, it is almost certain that we will be entertained once more by these two admirable sides as they go head to head this evening.