Before a do-or-die Champions League fixture against FC Porto on Tuesday, Atlético Madrid will square off against newly-promoted Mallorca at the Wanda Metropolitano.
With a victory, Atlético (8-5-1, 29 points) will hold onto second place and move to within four points of leaders Real Madrid before visiting the Santiago Bernabéu next Sunday. Atleti bounced back from its worst display of the season against AC Milan with an emphatic road win against Cádiz last week, and the rojiblancos now can string together three consecutive league wins for the first time since May.
“All games have their complexities, there is not one game that you go to and know you will absolutely win,” Diego Simeone said Friday. “Some games may seem more complex and turn out to be simpler, and vice versa, (but) the important thing is how we are doing. We’re working very well, and I hope it can be shown on the pitch.”
Simeone will debut a new trident for Mallorca’s visit. Cholo is set to rest Luis Suárez and name Matheus Cunha to the starting 11 alongside Ángel Correa and Antoine Griezmann. Yannick Carrasco is out after finishing the Cádiz game in discomfort while Thomas Lemar could start from the bench, possibly giving Renan Lodi a chance to appear in the 11 alongside Héctor Herrera or Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Also, João Félix is available after missing three games with a calf injury. Kieran Trippier did not make the squad, but his recovery from a shoulder injury is nearing its conclusion.
“Matheus has been growing, inserting himself better and better within the team, and hopefully he can continue with the growth that he came to Atlético to achieve,” Simeone said.
Mallorca (3-7-5, 16 points) have not beaten Atlético away since April 2006 and played a Copa del Rey match earlier this week while Atleti rested. Coach Luis García Plaza, a former Atleti B center-back, guided the bermellones back to Primera after taking over in summer 2020. He has a talented — though defensively-suspect — squad at his disposal, with young attackers Take Kubo, Fer Niño, and Lee Kang-In figuring prominently when available.
“I think we’ve had a very good week to prepare for the games that are coming, and Mallorca as well,” Griezmann said Thursday in an interview with the club. “It’ll be important to get the three points and it’ll be a tough game like all the others. But I think we’ve got the group focused on getting the three points.”
Date Dec. 4, 2021
Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Kickoff time 6:30 p.m. CET, 5:30 p.m. GMT, 12:30 p.m. EST, 9:30 a.m. PST