Atlético were knocked out of the competition last year by Manchester City in the quarter-final. They have avoided the biggest sides in the competition in the group stage draw this year, after drawing Liverpool and Milan in addition to Porto a season ago.
Atlético have played Porto 10 times in the past. Eight of those games came in the Champions League, and their most recent battle came last year when Atlético drew at home and then beat the Portuguese side 3-1 at the Estádio do Dragão. Antoine Griezmann, Ángel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul scored on the night. That “must-win” game sent Porto out of the Champions League, and it was a bad-tempered affair with two red cards and a bust-up on the sideline.
These will be the 9th and 10th instances where Atlético play Bayer Leverkusen. They most recently played one another in 2019, when Atlético won 1-0 at home and lost 2-1 away from home.
Leverkusen were managed by Peter Bosz at the time, but this time around they have Gerardo Seoane in charge. He is a Swiss-Spanish manager who played a very attractive and high-intensity pressing game. One of the German side’s best players, Florian Wirtz, is currently out with an ACL injury, but he is expected back next month.
A slightly less-frequent fixture, but they do have a recent encounter. Brugge and Atlético have played each other six times. Simeone’s side beat Brugge 3-1 at the Metropolitano in 2018, with goals from Griezmann (2) and Koke. They drew the return leg 0-0 that December, finishing second comfortably in their group.
When will the Champions League groups stage matches be played?
It will get hectic for Atlético, as the games will be squeezed into a nine-week window ahead of the World Cup in Qatar in November — the group stage is usually played over three months. Also, LaLiga started back a week later than the Premier League, meaning there are more games to fit in than ever before.
- Matchday 1: September 6 and 7
- Matchday 2: September 13 and 14
- Matchday 3: October 4 and 5
- Matchday 4: October 11 and 12
- Matchday 5: October 25 and 26
- Matchday 6: November 1 and 2