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Atlético de Madrid - Real Sociedad: A Champions League-caliber clash

A difficult game entering the international break.

Atletico Madrid v Feyenoord: Group E - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
With another goal against his former club, Griezmann can draw closer to Aragones’ scoring record.
Photo by Alvaro Medranda/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Atlético de Madrid on Sunday will put its 13-game home winning streak on the line when Real Sociedad pay a visit to the capital in the final game before the international break.

Atlético Madrid (5-1-1, 16 points) have not lost any of its past 10 home meetings with Real Sociedad (4-3-1, 15 points), and Atlético have been in fine form in front of goal in recent weeks — especially at the Metropolitano, where Los Rojiblancos have scored exactly three goals in all four of their home games this season, including the Champions League win over Feyenoord in midweek.

Atlético’s 23 percent shot-conversion rate is the highest of any team in Europe’s top-five leagues, and its 22 goals this season have come from 43 shots on target — every other shot on goal is going in. This is all the more impressive considering head coach Diego Simeone has routinely had only two or three forwards available for several weeks.

Simeone again will have just two available on Sunday, with Ángel Correa (knee sprain) unable to go and Memphis Depay (foot) still not training with the team.

Real Sociedad started slowly but have rapidly picked up form in recent weeks. Star attacker Take Kubo is having a proper breakout season, notching five goals and an assist from the first seven league games. Captain Mikel Oyarzabal scored in the midweek Champions League win away at RB Salzburg — showing more than glimpses of the pre-injury Oyarzabal — while pivot Martín Zubimendi, linked with a transfer to Atlético over the summer, continues to shine in head coach Imañol Alguacil’s midfield.

Real Sociedad v Athletic Club - LaLiga EA Sports
Take Kubo celebrating his goal in the Basque Derby.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

“They have shown it in recent years, even going to second in the table at one point, they're converting their style of play and evolving,” Simeone told the media on Saturday. “La Real are one of those teams that will be there to fight for the Champions League places.”

Stefan Savić’s return to training on Friday gives Simeone a new option in defense to combat the txuri-urdin tidal wive. The Montenegrin could slot immediately into the starting 11 after missing the past three games, but the rest of El Cholo’s team will likely remain unchanged from Wednesday. That includes another start with the red-hot Álvaro Morata, who has scored seven goals in eight games this season.

Date Oct. 8, 2023

Location Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 4:15 p.m. CET, 3:15 p.m. BST, 10:15 a.m. ET, 7:15 a.m. PT

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), DAZN (Spain), Viaplay Sports 1 (United Kingdom)