I perfectly remember many things from that game: Atlético's arrival at the stadium with the players hitting the windows of the bus; Falcao's goals, Athletic's arreón and the troubles in a few endless minutes of harassment and demolition of the Bilbao team; the subsequent celebration at the hotel … Almost nine years have passed since the final in Bucharest and Atlético return to the same place. The pandemic forces the Madrid team to play at home in the venue where Simeone won his first title as a coach in 2012. The coach wanted to replace Wanda Metropolitano with the stadium where it all began. A talisman enclosure (follow the game live on AS.com).
Many things have changed: Atlético is now one of the greats in Europe, and it does fight for the league title against Real Madrid and Barcelona on almost equal terms and no one in European football wants to face the Cholo team. Some of those who lived through that match are gone and many will remember the Bucharest match in their own way.
In these years, Atlético has tried to assault the Champions League, played two finals, which they lost in a cruel way. And one thing did not change in this journey of the Argentine coach: that rebellion of the Cholo group, that getting up after each hard blow, trying again and again … Atlético faces another assault on that competition that resists so much and He does it against Chelsea, with whom he maintains a beautiful rivalry. Atlético wants to be the one of the great European nights, although it will not have the field factor at its side. Last season he eliminated Liverpool, at that time the current champion, and in this stage of Cholo Barcelona, Bayern, Chelsea himself fell … In these rounds and against these teams is where the Madrid team has forged its legend European large set.
Atlético has had a small crisis of results, not games. Yes, he has suffered in defense and that is where he cannot afford any distraction. Cholo's maxim is not to concede any as much as a local in the two-legged qualifiers. For the rojiblanco coach, everything that is not fitting in is positive. The rojiblancos are still reduced by the losses, although they will put an eleven of guarantees. It remains to be seen if Simeone brings out João Félix as a teammate of Luis Suárez. The Portuguese is not fine, but he was signed to be decisive in this type of game. In the middle, the Cholo always puts strength and muscle. He could play Kondogbia alongside Koke and Lemar.
Chelsea is a team on the rise with the arrival of Tuchel. But at Atlético they pay attention to the rival. The result of the match will depend on what Luis Suárez can do, who since 2015 has not scored in the Champions League as a visitor. He did score in a stadium that was not his, in the match played in Lisbon, in Barcelona's 2-8 against Bayern, although it was on neutral ground. Today he will play in another stadium that is not his own, although the rojiblancos are local. The Uruguayan has scored 16 goals in LaLiga, although in this edition of the Champions League he has not scored a goal with Atlético. For the striker, this match is also a personal challenge. As for Marcos Llorente, the rojiblanco more fit. As for Oblak, Savic, Saúl or Koke, who have experienced matches of all colors with the rojiblanco team on the fields of Europe. Today we are all waiting for Atlético on the great continental nights.