Atlético Madrid are down to bare bones once more after the FIFA virus hit them hard over the past two weeks. Their shorthanded squad will welcome Eibar to the Wanda Metropolitano at lunchtime Saturday.
A busy break saw tremendous highs — such as Saúl Ñíguez’s emergence as a key player for Spain — and pretty low lows for Atlético. Ángel Correa, Diego Costa and Diego Godín were among those hit with minor injuries, while Nikola Kalinić sprained his ankle and Santiago Arias fractured a rib. The former trio are all in Diego Simeone’s squad this weekend, but it appears only one — Costa — will start. Simeone has left Arias, Kalinić and Vitolo out of his squad, though it seems the former Spain international is the one closest to a return.
Fitness aside, Atlético are in need of a victory Saturday — and based on past results, the mattress makers might not have been able to pick a better opponent. Eibar have beaten Atleti just once in their history and Simeone’s men are 7-1-0 against the Basque side since their promotion to LaLiga in 2014. Their last meeting was a 2-2 draw on May 20 in Fernando Torres’ final game in red and white.
The indications less than 18 hours from kickoff are that Godín will start on the bench — perhaps the right call considering the player’s form and the upcoming trip to Monaco for a Champions League match on Tuesday. Stefan Savić’s suspension opens up a place for Filipe Luís as Lucas Hernández will move over to center back. New signings Rodri and Thomas Lemar are expected to return to the XI, while Saúl is expected to get the nod over Thomas despite the former’s busy international break becoming a Spain star and such.
Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez, Lucas, Filipe Luís; Koke, Lemar, Saúl, Rodri; Griezmann, Costa.
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Eibar.
How to watch
Date: Sept. 15, 2018
Location: Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Kickoff time: 1:00 p.m. CEST, 12:00 p.m. GMT/BST, 7:00 a.m. EST, 4:00 a.m. PST
SB Nation opposition blog: N/A
Available TV/streaming: Movistar+, beIN LaLiga (Spain), Eleven Sports 1 (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), beIN Sports Connect (France), DIRECTV Sports (Uruguay), Setanta Sports Eurasia (Estonia), QQ Sports Live (China)
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