Atlético and its drop in ‘Champions reliability’ in the Metropolitan


Atlético de Madrid said goodbye this Wednesday to its options in the 2022-2023 Champions League after not going beyond a two-goal draw against the German Bayer Leverkusen in a Cívitas Metropolitano where it continues to fail to be totally reliable in recent years in the highest European competition.

Diego Pablo Simeone managed to make the Vicente Calderón Stadium one of the forts of the Old Continent since his arrival in December 2011 at the mattress bench. With the Argentine coach, the Madrid team only lost one of its 23 games in continental competition, against the Russian Rubin Kazán, in February 2013 and in the Europa League, in the stronghold of the Manzanares riverbank.

No one else managed to win at the Calderón and the change of stadium seems to have failed to carry away that magic that carried Atlético de Madrid to two almost consecutive Champions League finals in 2014 and 2016.

Already its premiere in the maximum continental competition at the Wanda Metropolitano seemed to drop that it would not be as reliable. In the 2017-2018 season, against English Chelsea, they lost 1-2 in a year in which they could not get past the first phase either and had to play in the Europa League, especially because of the draw at home (1-1) against modest Qarabag.

The victory against Roma (2-0) completed their three group games and began a great dynamic since on their way to winning the Europa League title they did not fail in their hometown where they won without conceding Copenhagen, Lokomotiv, Sporting of Portugal and Arsenal.

In the following campaign, they maintained this solidity and beat Bruges (3-1), Borussia Dortmund (2-0), Monaco (2-0) and, in the first leg of the round of 16, Juventus (2-0), while that in 2019-20 they began drawing with ‘Juve’ (2-2) and then beat Bayer Leverkusen (1-0), Lokomotiv (2-0) and Liverpool (1-0). This time it happened with the comeback at Anfield, but the pandemic caused him to play a game in Portugal in the quarterfinals against Leipzig.

And from then on, the numbers at the Metropolitano went awry, which in the following three seasons has only seen two wins for their team in the Champions League. In 2020-21, he debuted with a long-suffering victory against Salzburg (3-2), by then the ninth in his last ten Champions League games and the thirteenth in 14 European games in total, to later tie with Lokomotiv (0-0 ) and Bayern (1-1). The restrictions forced him to play his round of 16 tie with Chelsea in Bucharest at home, where he lost 0-1.

In 21-22, they fell to Liverpool (2-3) and Milan (0-1) and drew goalless against Porto (0-0), while in the eighth and quarter-finals they drew against Manchester United (1-1) and Manchester City (0-0). After seven consecutive games without winning in front of their fans, they broke this streak this year, in the 110th minute, against Porto (2-1), but then they couldn’t beat either Bruges (0-0) or Leverkusen (2- two).

Thus, since moving to the Metropolitano, Atlético has played 22 Champions League games there with a record of 10 wins, three losses and nine draws, with 30 goals for and 17 goals against. But it is since that 3-2 win against Salzburg in October 2020 that the numbers are most worrying, with just one win in ten games, eight goals scored and nine conceded.