Atlético Madrid and Club Brugge will renew acquaintances on Tuesday night in matchday 3 of UEFA Champions League group stage action.
This is the first of back-to-back pivotal meetings between Atlético and Club Brugge in Group B. Atleti’s qualification hopes were dealt a blow after a 2-0 defeat in Germany to Bayer Leverkusen in matchday two, while Brugge pounded Porto 4-0 to take over top spot in the group.
Carl Hoefkens’s Club sits third in the Belgian league with seven wins from 10 games, including a 3-0 home victory over Mechelen on Saturday that saw top scorer Ferran Jutglà grab his seventh goal this season. Atlético’s top scorer, Álvaro Morata, notched his fourth goal of the campaign (all in LaLiga) in the second half of the Rojiblancos’ 2-0 win at Sevilla — which saw Atleti successfully revert to a 4-4-2/4-3-3 hybrid formation.
“We are approaching 11 full years here (as a coaching staff), and I don’t remember a situation where we haven’t changed the system from one game to another,” Diego Simeone told the media on Monday. “We’re not doing anything unusual. We’re looking for the best solutions for the team. Now we’ll look for what we think is best for the team in tomorrow’s match.”
Atlético and Club last met in the 2018/19 group stage, where Diego Simeone’s side won 3-1 in Madrid before playing out a goalless draw in Belgium. The Colchoneros have not won any of their three previous visits to Brugge.
“The game we played here a few years ago was difficult,” Simeone said. “They have a great coach, with a very attractive style, a lot of attacking play, a lot of players in the opponent’s half of the field. The danger they generate has helped them win three leagues in a row plus compete in the Champions League. Scoring four goals at Porto’s stadium speaks for itself.”
Simeone will welcome Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo de Paul back into contention after the midfield duo missed Saturday’s game. Right-back Nahuel Molina trained normally at Brugge’s Jan Breydel Stadium on Monday and should be ready to play, while Felipe (hamstring) and Sergio Reguilón (groin) remain unavailable.
El Cholo was non-committal on who would start up top, but praised Matheus Cunha for his strong performance in Seville, where he played down the left and grabbed an assist for Morata.
“We gave Matheus the opportunity to play in a new position for him here, although he already played on the left with his previous team,” Simeone said. “I watched several games (and saw) how he performed there, and we decided to look for something different (on Saturday) ... We’re pleased with how he played. With more time and more games, he’ll get better.”
“The result from the other day gave us a lot of confidence, and we have to feel identified with how we play,” Koke told the media on Monday. “Hopefully, we can play a great game tomorrow.”
¡Estos son los jugadores rojiblancos que viajan a Brujas! pic.twitter.com/xYilRvhOkJ— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) October 3, 2022
Date Oct. 4, 2022
Location Jan Breydelstadion, Sint-Andries, Bruges, Belgium
Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. BST, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST