Champions League: Atletico vs Barca is clash of the season
Zee Media Bureau/ Rajdeep Saha
New Delhi: Barcelona hope to overcome dark horses Atletico Madrid in a pulsating return leg on Wednesday. The tie stands at 1-1 and Diego Simeone`s men hold an away goal advantage much to Barca`s disliking. Atletico Madrid will hope to use every part of Simeone`s belief. There has been nothing much in tactical difference between the two La Liga toppers in this season`s meetings so far. Barca are yet to beat Los Colchoneros in four attempts as the latter have risen upto their task under their classy hard working thoughtful manager.
For Atletico, things have fallen into it`s place with Diego Costa back from injury and Raul Garcia returning from suspension. Costa`s availability is a big boost and Simeone knows that on big nights, the star striker can deliver. On the other hand, Barcelona have defensive lapses and Alex Song is likely to feature in place of injured Gerard Pique. Atletico has handled Lionel Messi well and will look to shut him down on Wednesday too. Simeone has used his midfield in a good fashion and has an outstanding goalkeeper in Thiabut Curtois.
Barca have Champions experience and their dominance in Europe over the last decade has been noteworthy. They have won the coveted trophy thrice and have been semifinalists on five occassions in the last eight years. That in terms of experience is huge for any team. That`s the place where the Blaugarana will look to capitalise at, although Atletico go in as favorites. Firstly, with the away goal factor and secondly they play at home. Stats show teams which have beaten Barcelona in the past seven years, have all gone on to win the trophy. Man United (07-08), Inter (09-10), Chelsea (11-12) and Bayern last season.
And for Atletico, there lies a chance to repeat the Barca hurdle. The intensity between both teams are so detailed out, and in key moments the tie could be decided. Both teams know each other very well and it`s going to be a tight affair that could see the match heading into penalties.