|UEFA Champions League 2013/14|
| Atlético Madrid
||vs|| FC Barcelona
ScheduleWednesday, 9 April 2014 at 19:45 GMT / 20:45 UK / 01:15 IST
VenueVicente Calderón (Madrid)
Next Wednesday, Atlético Madrid will entertain the Spanish league title holders Barcelona at Vicente Calderón for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Quarter-finals. After the 1-1 draw at Camp Nou last week, the Colchoneros want to prove that they have what is necessary to defeat Gerardo Martino’s Barcelona. Every time these two teams met during this season, the match ended in a draw. The last time they went head-to-head at Vicente Calderón was back in January on a match that ended 0-0. Diego Simeone would certain not be annoyed if next Wednesday’s match ended the same way since that would mean that his side would go through to the next round of the competition.
Last Tuesday, Atlético Madrid “allowed” Barcelona to have more ball possession and opted for quick counter-attacks to make something positive out of the predictable attacking game avalanche from the Blaugranas. Diego Simeone’s strategy would have worked perfectly had it not been for Neymar’s goal on the 71st minute, after the splendid long shot goal from Diego that gave the Colchoneros the lead. Simeone’s 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 Italian inspired tactical style could prove to be a deadly weapon to deconstruct Barcelona’s 4-3-3 flexible style. The presence of one extra man on Atlético’s midfield line against the three Blaugrana’s players could probably be a decisive factor on the final outcome of the next match.
Simeone is still not 100% certain if he will be able to count on Diego Costa and on Arda Turan because of their recent injuries. Their hypothetical absence might constitute a major problem for the Argentinean manager due to the importance of such talented players on the Colchoneros this season.
As for Barcelona, next Wednesday’s clash will also surely be one of the most difficult ones so far this season. The Catalan team seem to be improving recently (after their slow start this season), although the team experienced several difficulties to beat a mid-table Espanyol side at Liga BBVA last weekend.
For next Wednesday’s clash, Gerardo Martino will not be able to count on the presence of Gerard Piqué, who is suffering from a hip injury, and on Victor Valdés that will miss the rest of the season because of a complicated knee injury.
Atlético Madrid were only defeated once at home this season, on a Copa del Rey match against their city rivals of Real Madrid and they are a tough bone to chew when playing at Vicente Calderón. Barcelona’s manager, Tata Martino, is certainly aware of that, but he also knows that his side needs to score if they want to move forward in the competition; thus, they will have to take some risks that would otherwise be avoided.
W-5 L-0 D-2
Recent Form - WDWWWD
W-4 L-1 D-2
Recent Form - WLWWWD
Atlético Madrid (4-4-1-1) – Courtois - Juanfran - Miranda - Godin - Filipe Luis - Mario Suárez - Gabi - Koke - Sosa - Diego - Villa
Barcelona (4-3-3) – Pinto - Dani Alves - Puyol - Mascherano - J.Alba - Busquets - Xavi - Iniesta - Neymar - Fàbegras - Messi.
Prediction: Atlético Madrid 1 Barcelona 0