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Atlético de Madrid-Getafe CF: The second half of LaLiga begins

Irrespective of the result, another historic evening awaits Atlético on Saturday.

CA Osasuna v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander
Koke on Saturday should tie the club record for domestic league appearances.
Photo by Ion Alcoba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid host Getafe in a mini-derby on Saturday night, when the Colchoneros will try to extend an impressive home winning streak against this particular opponent.

Atlético (10-4-5, 34 points) have won the past 11 home meetings with Getafe (4-5-10, 17 points) in league play, conceding only three goals in that span. While Atleti are hoping to consolidate a top-four position as the second half of the league season begins, Quique Sánchez Flores is under pressure to guide 19th-place Getafe out of the relegation zone. The battle to avoid the drop is cramped — nine teams, situated 11th through 19th, are within five points of one another.

“I ask our footballers to continue playing with enthusiasm and continue competing,” Diego Simeone told the media on Friday.

Simeone welcomed two new players to the fold during a busy January transfer window. The club brought in forward Memphis and defender Matt Doherty while Felipe, João Félix, and Matheus Cunha all moved to England. Atlético’s squad now appears to have a bit more balance, and the team’s performances have undoubtedly improved since December.

Matthew James Doherty Presentation For Atletico De Madrid
New arrival Matt Doherty is in Saturday’s squad.
Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 via Getty Images

“I’m grateful to all the guys who have left. Many of them were important when we became league champions,” Simeone said. “Felipe (was important), João (showed his quality) in the first half of that season, (Renan) Lodi scored in the game against Osasuna, when LaLiga was escaping us. Matheus played less, but he showed will and effort ... I wish them the best.”

Atlético have found some success lately with a 4-3-3 formation that features Antoine Griezmann shuttling between the midfield and forward lines. Simeone looks set to repeat this idea against Getafe, where Ángel Correa and Álvaro Morata are expected to start up top. Captain Koke is expected to start on Saturday as well, and he will tie the club record for most league appearances (401 games, held by the great Adelardo Rodríguez) assuming he does.

CA Osasuna v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander
Álvaro Morata notched two goals in Atlético’s 3-0 win at Getafe in August.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

On the other side, Atlético will have to keep a close eye on Getafe forward Enes Ünal. The Turk has scored only five goals this season, but Atleti are among his favorite victims. Ünal has four career goals against the Colchoneros, including a brace in Getafe’s 4-3 loss at the Cívitas Metropolitano last season.

“We are facing a team with a coach who is very clear about things,” Simeone said. “We must try to take the game to where we want and continue to grow.”

Date Feb. 4, 2023

Location Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 6:30 p.m. CET, 5:30 p.m. GMT, 12:30 p.m. EST, 9:30 a.m. PST

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), DAZN (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom)