clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern Munich, Champions League 2016 preview: Guardiola against Simeone

Two of the best managers in the world go head-to-head in the semi-final of the Champions League

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

All attention will be on the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night as Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone do battle in one of the most anticipated games of the year. By virtue of beating the reigning champions and favourites, Atletico might have moved into the category. The two managers could not be any different in there approaches to the game. Diego Simeone likes to concede possession and put his faith in his side's defensive qualities. Pep Guardiola likes to beat you with the ball and Bayern are likely to own it for anywhere between 70 and 80% over the two legs. This one is intriguing for a number of reasons but Pep versus Cholo might be the main one.

Opponent: Bayern Munich - Bavarian FB Works

Coach: Diego Simeone

League position: Atletico currently sit tied for 1st in La Liga. They are behind Barcelona, however, in head-to-head and will lose out unless Barcelona drop points in their last three games.

Probable starting lineup: Jan Oblak, Juanfran, Stefan Savic, Lucas Hernandez, Filipe Luis, Augusto Fernandez, Gabi, Saul Niguez, Koke, Antoine Griezmann, Fernando Torres.

Potential game-changers off the bench: Angel Correa, Yannick Carrasco.

How they got here: Atletico finished top of a group that also contained Benfica, Galatasaray and FC Astana. They won four, drew one and lost once to Benfica before knocking out PSV Eindhoven on penalties in the round of 16. Barcelona were there next victims and despite carrying a 2-1 defeat into the second leg, to goals from Antoine Griezmann were enough to see off a mighty challenge from the reigning champions.

You'll know things are going well for (your team) if this is happening: Atletico are able to counter. They tend to sit and defend well but can be overwhelmed at times when they can not break and alleviate some of the pressure that they tend to get put under. If Atletico can test Manuel Neuer, it will mean Bayern have to remain cautious and Atletico might score.

(Your team) might be in trouble if you see a lot of this: Fouling close to goal and the referee, Mark Clattenburg, handing out yellow cards early. By not having lots of possession, you are always likely to foul more than when you do have possession but Atletico can get frustrated and the earlier this happens, the more likely Bayern are to scoring and blowing the game wide open.

This is the reason (your team) will advance to the Champions League final: Atletico have hit a purple patch at an excellent time in the season and are still reeling from their heartbreak in Lisbon two seasons ago when Real Madrid pipped them at the post in the Champions League final. Diego Simeone lives for these occasions and will have his men primed for a massive occasion at the Calderon on Wednesday, putting themselves in an ideal position for the return leg in Munich.