clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Atlético de Madrid - Celtic FC: The back half of the group stage kicks off

Diego Simeone prioritized this game over the Las Palmas match on Friday. Will his gamble pay off?

Atletico de Madrid Media Access
Simeone has reportedly agreed a new contract through the 2026/27 season.
Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images

The rematch on Tuesday night between Atlético de Madrid and Celtic Football Club comes at a decisive juncture for Atlético, as a win would put the hosts in great position to qualify for the Champions League knockout phase.

Atlético Madrid (5 points) need to take care of business this time against Brendan RodgersCeltic (1 point) after struggling to a 2-2 draw in Glasgow two weeks ago. A win at the Metropolitano in matchday four — combined with dropped points between Feyenoord (6 points) and Lazio (4 points) in Rome — would put Atlético back in the driver’s seat in Group E.

“I see the group as very even, and the results prove it,” head coach Diego Simeone told the media on Monday. “Whoever has greater consistency will reach the goal of advancing to the round of 16.”

Atlético have found that consistency inside the Metropolitano, where Los Rojiblancos have won 15 games in a row between LaLiga and the Champions League. Returning to the capital for Celtic’s visit represents a good opportunity — if not an obligation — to bounce back from the disappointing defeat at Las Palmas on Friday night, which saw Atleti lose ground in the domestic title race.

“For us, doing well in the Champions League is a responsibility,” center-back Mario Hermoso said during Monday’s joint press conference. “We represent many people after a long journey, and those of us playing here must meet the highest demands. We know what happened last season, the people need to know that Atlético will always compete in important games.”

Simeone’s 11 in training on Monday included Ángel Correa partnering Álvaro Morata in attack, with Antoine Griezmann dropping into the midfield three. This indicates El Cholo is seeking more attacking impetus after Atlético struggled to break an intense Las Palmas press on Friday.

“We’ve had four days of recovery ahead of the next game,” Simeone said. “It’s an extraordinary game that we have to play on Tuesday, where there will be a lot of people in our stadium. There’s hope on the team’s part to have a great game and make fixes, leaving what happened in Las Palmas a bit further behind.”

Elsewhere in the potential starting lineup, Rodrigo Riquelme (a goal and an assist in the past two games) is set to retain his place at left wing-back, despite Samuel Lino’s return to training over the weekend. Center-back José Giménez could make his 50th Champions League appearance for the club. Rodrigo de Paul is suspended following his red card at Celtic Park in matchday three.

“We have to approach the game with the intention it deserves,” Simeone said. “We definitely expect great support from our people in our stadium. ... We’re facing an opponent that starts games well, and we hope we’re able to live up to what the match demands.”


Date Nov. 7, 2023

Location Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST

Available TV/streaming CBS Sports Network/Paramount+ (United States), Movistar+ (Spain), TNT Sports 1 (United Kingdom)