Champions League Tuesdays
The Champions league is by far the most coveted trophy in Europe. Every year, the giants of football battle for the sake of lifting the big eared trophy. And every year, all teams are left fuming while the winner earns the title of “European Champions”. With Champions league football comes the promise of passion, outrageous skills, goals and late drama. The two teams facing off tonight have been consistently reaching the final for the last three to four years.
Bayern are arguably the biggest team in Bundesliga history, they are the unrivaled masters of the German game. Facing them, Atletico Madrid find themselves at the pinnacle of the Spanish game for the past five years, thanks to a relentless Diego Simeone, a skilled transfer policy and outstanding youth facilities. Between them, both teams have been part of at least four of the last 5 finals. Last season, both teams met in the knockout stages, with the Spanish team throwing Bayern out of the competition.
Bayern Munich, a troubled giant
Bayern Munich go into the game having already incurred two losses in the group stages. They find themselves as far second in Group D, having barely scraped 9 points compared to Atletico’s staggering 15 points. At first sight, most of us will think that not much is hanging in the balance. With a 5 point lead over FC Rostov, Bayern are all but guaranteed 2nd place. In addition, Atletico have built an unassailable 6 points lead over the German giants. Nevertheless, this game, even if it doesn’t have any effect on position, presents itself to Bayern as a chance for redemption. A chance to highlight their caliber under Ancelotti, especially after a severely underwhelming start to the Bundesliga.
Ancelotti seems to know his team have a steep hill to climb. Indeed, in a press conference on Monday, Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti seemed to put much more weight on the knockout stage. “From the knockout stage the level will be higher. We didn’t see a lot new in the group stage. The quality will increase, and we will be competitive.” This highlights his tendency to lift the pressure from his players in the hope of seeing them perform.
For Bayern, the purpose is clear, either win, or concede a state of crisis in the team. Needless to say, any talk of crisis might cause even more unrest, and this is something the Bavarian giants just cannot indulge.
Atletico Madrid, Diego’s last stretch
Atletico Madrid find themselves traveling to Munich with most of their first team squad, Simeone is lucky enough to have avoided major injury problems so far. Ateltico did play out a goalless draw against Espanyol, but fact is, they have scored 11 goals and conceded none in their last four games. Considering the gap in form, Ateltico seem to be the team to go out and grab the game by the throat!
Simeone announced at the start of the season his intent to soon leave the team. His most likely destination seems to be Inter Milan, the struggling Italian giants. Over the span of his managing career at Atletico, Simeone has re-invented the team. He has crafted an identity for Los Colchoneros that every club would dream of. Nevertheless, the Champions league has still eluded him. Over the past 5 years Atletico Madrid have reached two finals, and have suffered heartbreak in both. Diego Simeone seems to be adamant on winning this year. The Atletico players have deep respect for their manager and infinite passion, and will definitely be giving their all to win. If they comprehensively beat Bayern tonight, they will be sending shockwaves around the European Footballing scene. Los Colchoneros are coming and no one can stand in their way.
What are your expectations for the game? Who will be the winner?