An all Madrid final again? A Guardiola derby? Neither?!
The third best attack in Europe against the best defence. Atletico Madrid hold a 1-0 first leg advantage after they called Saul and he came up with an extaordinary goal in the Calderon last week. In order to return to the Champions League final they need to do something that less than seven sides have managed to do in the last six years – avoid defeat away to Bayern Munich. A draw will do, but there’s some bad news in store for fans of the Rojiblancos.
It’s very rare for a team to have 74% of the possession in a match and lose. So rare that it usually occurs when playing a computer game. Yet that’s it happened to Bayern last week in the first leg. They just couldn’t break down Diego Simeone’s defence after the opening goal. A weakened side drew 1-1 with Monchengladbach at home on Saturday. Well, we say weakened, it still had six World Cup winners in the starting 11.
Their home record is impeccable this season. Just seven goals conceded in 16 games in the Allianz Arena and one defeat. However, they haven’t won the Bundesliga just yet. Dortmund sit five behind with two games to go.
Atleti aren’t too shabby when playing away either. They’ve conceded on average 0.25 goals per away match. They’ve the best defence of the top five European leagues and they’ve some bloke with three goals in his last three away games leading the line. What was his name again? Fernando Torres.
Backed up by a firing Frenchman in Antoine Griezmann Atleti have only lost twice in their last 20 games in all competitions. They’re locked with Barcelona on top of La Liga and will want to right the wrongs of 2014 when they were around 20 seconds away from a historic Champions League title. 40 years earlier, the same thing had happened them when they conceded an equaliser in added time in a European Cup final. Their opponents? Bayern Munchen.
When you look at the defensive stats of both sides, under 2.5 goals seems like a NAP. It’s going to be scrappier than Scrappy Doo in a scrap outside Spearmint nightclub. But when a team loses once at home in almost two seasons, it’s hard not to back them.
Bayern to qualify after extra-time is our main tip purely due to the strength of their bench. Atleti still have a title race to focus on in Spain and that would be considered a successful season. A 1-0 scoreline after 90 minutes in favour of the home side is worth a punt as well.
If Atleti manage to score first Bayern will need three. Torres () and Robert Lewandowski() are most likely to do it for their respective sides.
You’ll need your coffee/energy drink/50 bars of chocolate to stay awake because this will not be pretty.