The biggest game of Atlético Madrid's season takes place tonight in Bavaria, Germany. Allianz Arena is the site as Atlético try to hold off Bayern Munich and reach the Champions League final for the second time in three seasons. A single goal - Saúl Ñíguez's spectacular effort - separates the two sides, and the second leg should be an all-out war with Bayern needing to win by multiple goals to clinch a place in the May 28 showpiece. Atleti progress with a win, draw or one-goal scoring loss.
Here are three things Atlético must do in order to secure a spot in Milan:
As hosts, Bayern goals are listed on the y-axis. Atleti goals are represented on the x-axis.
Score an away goal
Atlético are likely to be pinned deep for the majority of this game, what with Bayern needing two goals and such. Two goals will become three if Diego Simeone's charges are able to break as they were last week. A goal would make Atleti just the third team in score in Munich during this season's Champions League (Juventus scored twice, Arsenal once, both teams lost) and it would make Bayern's task much more difficult. With Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres starting and Yannick Carrasco and Ángel Correa in reserve, opportunities to break quickly and frequently should present themselves.
Be prepared for anything
In the first leg, Pep Guardiola drew criticism for leaving Thomas Müller on the bench and electing to run Atlético ragged on the wings. Didn't work. So the Spaniard will likely come prepared with more wrinkles to his grand plan in an attempt to gain control early. Guardiola could opt to run his attack through a number of different players and Atleti's defense needs to be ready to adjust at a moment's notice.
Rely on experience
Two years ago, Atlético traveled to London for the second leg of a Champions League semifinal against Chelsea. The first leg had ended 0-0 at the Vicente Calderón, a result that many believed favored Chelsea. But instead, Atleti dominated after conceding a Fernando Torres opener and went on to win 3-1 thanks to goals from Adrián López, Diego Costa and the Turkish national team captain. Now, none of those players is still with the club, but Diego Godín, Filipe Luís, Juanfran, Koke and Tiago (who is with the team in Munich but is not fit to play) were in the team that won at Stamford Bridge. Atleti need to recall the intensity from that incredible night and play with the same fire in order to go through. Experience and maintaining composure (no silly red cards, Fernando) are absolutely critical.