Atletico, Bayern battle for Champions League final ticket

By Daily Sports on April 27, 2016

Views: 1,217

Atlético Madrid and Bayern Munich have been regulars in the last four in recent years, although it is their meeting in the 1974 final that most sticks in the memory.

While Diego Simeone's Atlético have reached the last four for the second time in three years, Bayern are appearing at this stage for the fifth season in a row.

This tie will prompt particularly fond memories for Bayern, who claimed the first of their five European Cups in 1974 with victory against Atlético after a replay – the only time that happened in a final.

Previous Meetings

The teams have played only twice before, in that 1974 European Cup final – both sides’ first. Atlético were seconds away from taking the trophy at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels before Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck’s 120th-minute equaliser gave Bayern a 1-1 draw.

This is Atlético’s fifth European Cup semifinal; their record is W2 L2. Two years ago, they overcame Chelsea FC 3-1 on aggregate at this stage.

The Spanish side have not lost at home in a European Cup semifinal; their record over their four previous ties is W3 D1.

Bayern have lost in Spain in the first leg of the semifinals in each of the last two seasons, going down 1-0 at Real Madrid in 2013/14 (0-5 aggregate) and 3-0 at Barcelona last year (3-5 aggregate).

The German club have won on only two of their last 12 trips to Spain, losing eight. Josep Guardiola’s team have won only two of their last nine UEFA Champions League away games, losing four.

MATCH FACTS

Atlético

Fernando Torres is available again after a one-match ban.

Atlético have won their last five league games, most recently a 1-0 success at home against Málaga CF on 23 April, substitute Ángel Correa scoring the only goal.

Atlético have not conceded in their last four competitive games.

Fernando Torres drew a blank on Saturday having scored in each of his previous five matches.

Diego Godín aggravated a hamstring injury during Atlético's 1-0 win at Athletic, two weeks after recovering from the same problem, and did not feature against Málaga.

José Giménez (hamstring) and Tiago (knee) have also been struggling with injuries, though the former featured against Málaga.

Antoine Griezmann has scored 29 goals in all competitions this season.

Jan Oblak has kept 22 clean sheets this season, more than any other goalkeeper in Atlético's history, overtaking Thibaut Courtouis's 20 clean sheets in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Bayern

Bayern have won nine of their last ten games following a 2-0 success at Hertha BSC Berlin on Saturday.

Robert Lewandowski ended a run of six matches without a goal for club and country with two in a 3-0 win against FC Schalke 04 on 16 April.

Lewandowski has 46 goals in 53 outings for club and country in 2015/16.

Thomas Müller scored twice as Bayern defeated SV Werder Bremen 2-0 at home on 19 April in the last four of the German Cup. Guardiola’s side face Borussia Dortmund in the final on 21 May.

Müller’s opener against Bremen was his 150th competitive goal for Bayern.

Bayern announced on 20 April that Manuel Neuer had extended his contract until the summer of 2021.

Medhi Benatia (out since 25 March, thigh) returned against Schalke.

Arjen Robben (adductor) has been out since 13 March.

Holger Badstuber fractured an ankle in training on 13 February and will miss the rest of the season.

Jérôme Boateng has yet to return to action following a groin injury sustained in the 2-1 win at Hamburger SV on 22 January, although he has resumed training.

Diego Simeone, Atlético coach

We have to be thinking about one thing: winning. I'm expecting a hard match against an opponent with a lot of attacking potential, against a coach who changes from game to game. We will try to take the game into our hands where and when we can. It will be an important match in terms of the tie as a whole.

Obviously we have a coach and players with different characteristics [from Bayern’s]. But in wars it isn’t the side with the most soldiers that wins, rather the side that uses its soldiers better. In football or life there’s no such thing as revenge, just new opportunities. They’re in the same position as us. To win the league you have to win games, and we're in the same situation. I want my side to win, nothing more.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY

Josep Guardiola, Bayern coach

We're happy to be here in the semis – we know all the teams are difficult and Atleti are no exception. You can compare them to Barça and Madrid – when they play against the big European clubs they can confound the favourites. Simeone has managed to achieve big things. It will be a great game, complete and fun at the same time, and we’ll do all we can to get the final.

Jérôme [Boateng] is here, we’ll decide if he’ll play tomorrow. He’s one of the best centre-backs in the world, he has the experience and personality for a game like tomorrow’s.

Atleti do many things. It’s been five years since I was involved against them, but from what I’ve seen and what people say they defend well, though that’s not all they do. They’re extremely well organised, Koke takes a mean dead ball, they’ve got a good structure defensively, they close space, they have a great counterattack. They’ve been fighting for the league title for the last three or four seasons as well as in Europe, so you have to do almost everything very well against them. We’ve seen them and now we’ll have to see what we can do in order to hurt them.

In football you have to adapt and we’ll adapt to get the best result we can. In three years we’ve got to three semis I know that people say if I don’t win the UEFA Champions League my work won’t be complete, but I've been very lucky to have experienced what I have in Germany. I think I’m a better coach, a better person, more relaxed.

•Photo shows Fernando Torres.

Source Daily Sports

Posted April 27, 2016

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