The final destination begins with one small step. For Atlético Madrid, their journey home for June’s Champions League final starts Tuesday in Monaco.
Atlético kick off Group A action from Stade Louis II, the site of their 2010 and 2012 UEFA Super Cup wins. Atleti and Monaco have never played one another, but there is familiarity here nonetheless — Radamel Falcao, the Ligue 1 side’s captain, played for los colchoneros between 2011 and 2013, while Thomas Lemar left the principality for Madrid just three months ago in a €70 million transfer.
Diego Simeone is not overly concerned about Atlético’s underwhelming league start and instead views it as a chance to improve with Europe’s premier club competition beckoning once more.
“I see positive things, things to improve and a team with players who have to integrate,” Simeone said from Monaco on Monday. “There have been ups and downs in this start, with good matches and good periods of play. Now the only way I know how to improve is through hard work.”
Simeone’s XI might be a surprise — there have been no reports or even inklings about what he’s thinking for Tuesday, as the team only just arrived in Monaco. It seems likely Lucas returns to the team after he missed Saturday’s draw versus Eibar with stomach problems. Rodri — who really stood out in that match — could retain his place, especially as the boss removed him with 20 minutes left on Saturday. Ángel Correa and Thomas Lemar could be in contention to start on the wing, or Thomas Partey could start if Cholo desires a more physical, more defensive look.
Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez, Godín, Lucas; Saúl, Rodri, Correa, Koke; Griezmann, Costa.
Monaco 0-2 Atlético.
How to watch
Date: Sept. 18, 2018
Location: Stade Louis II, Fontvieille, Monaco
Kickoff time: 9:00 p.m. CEST, 8:00 p.m. GMT/BST, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST
SB Nation opposition blog: N/A
Available TV/streaming: Movistar+ (Spain), BT Sport Live (United Kingdom), B/R Live, UniMás (United States), RMC Sport 2 (France & Monaco), DAZN (Germany), Proximus 11+ (Belgium), PPTV Sport (China)
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