Next Wednesday, 30th of September 2015, an Atlético Madrid hurting in their pride will entertain the Portuguese champions of SL Benfica at the emblematic Vicente Calderón for Round 2 of the UEFA Champions League group stage.
The new season has been far from easy for Atlético Madrid. Four wins and already two defeats in just six matches isn’t probably what Diego Simeone had in mind for a campaign where the Colchoneros once again should want to be involved in the race for the title. Last weekend, Atlético Madrid were surprised by an extremely well organized and super motivated Villarreal at El Madrigal and ended up losing the match by 1-0. The Brazilian forward Leo Baptistão, who is currently on loan at Villarreal from Atlético Madrid, netted the Submarino Amarillo’s goal and punished the Colchoneros with their second defeat of the season.
Some of Atlético’s recent performances have in a way been somewhat disappointing and the team needs to improve if they want to battle against their all-time rivals for La Liga’s title.
In their first UEFA Champions League group stage match, Atlético Madrid secured an excellent 2-0 win against Galatasaray in Turkey thanks to two goals from the French wonder boy Antoine Griezmann.
For next Wednesday’s fixture against SL Benfica, Diego Simeone is not yet certain if he will be able to rely on the contribution of the Spanish international midfielder Koke, who remains sidelined due to injury.
As for SL Benfica, the current Portuguese champions are somehow having a slow start on domestic competitions, but they have been showing some improvements as the matches go by. Two weeks ago, SL Benfica were defeated at Estádio do Dragão against their all-time rivals FC Porto, thus conceding their second defeat in six matches so far this season. The Eagles have, nevertheless, managed to instantly bounce back and they showed no mercy on FC Paços de Ferreira by hammering them 3-0 at Estádio da Luz last weekend.
After the departure of their charismatic manager, Jorge Jesus, last summer, SL Benfica are still adapting to their new manager’s (Rui Vitória) ideas and, for that reason, they might not be as strong as they were in the last couple of seasons.
Stats: W-3 L-2 D-0
Recent Form - LWWWL
Stats: W-4 L-1 D-0
Recent Form - WLWWW
Atlético Madrid (4-4-2) - Oblak - Juanfran - Filipe Luis - Giménez - Godín - Tiago - Gabi - Griezmann - Oliver - Jackson Martinez - Vietto
SL Benfica (4-4-2) - Júlio César - Semedo - Luisão - Jardel - Eliseu - Samaris - Almeida - Gaitan - Guedes - Jonas - Mitroglou
Injury List / Suspended Players
Atlético Madrid - Koke (in doubt) - Oliver (in doubt)
SL Benfica - None
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