Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich: The talking points

Atletico Madrid host Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.We looks at five points of intrigue heading into the encounter.

Bayern Munich Press Conference
CLASH OF STYLES

It would, perhaps, be over egging the pudding to bill this match as a blood relative of the 2010 World Cup final, where Holland played 'beast' to Spain's 'beauty'. But this encounter certainly promises to be a battle of methods - Diego Simeone's Atletico relying on efficiency over entertainment, while Bayern under Pep Guardiola favour an aesthete's approach.

Advertisement
Atleti defender Stefan Savic admitted as much when he said: "That's the beauty of football - it can be played in different ways and all are worthy." Finding out which is worthiest on the night could prove a treat for the tactics geek.

UNFAMILIAR FOES

In a competition that increasingly throws up familiar fixtures in the knockout phase, this is a rare example of a new combination in the latter stages. Amazingly Atletico and Bayern have only crossed paths twice before - in the drawn 1974 European Cup final and its subsequent replay, both at Heysel. Bayern snatched a late equaliser in the first and won the second match 4-0 but the draw here is seeing how two teams who have not come head to head in recent times, match up.



BATTLE OF THE FORWARDS

In Robert Lewandowski Bayern boast the Bundesliga's top scorer and one of the most consistent marksmen in the continent. Thomas Muller thrives from a more withdrawn role and the pair have each managed eight goals in the Champions League this season. Atletico have their own leading light, Antoine Griezmann, who has 29 club goals this term and continues to draw admiring glances from rival clubs. But the most in-form forward on either side is the oft-maligned Fernando Torres, who has scored five times in his last six outings. His finest hour arguably came when he scored in the 2008 European Championship final against a Germany defence that included Bayern's Philipp Lahm.

WAITING FOR GODIN

Atletico will go into the match without hamstrung Uruguay defender Diego Godin, who leaves a considerable hole in their back-line. The 30-year-old is a key player for Simeone, leads the back four and is important as a set-piece organiser. Savic, Jose Gimenez and Lucas Hernandez are all vying for his shirt but none come close to matching Godin's experience. Against a Bayern side who are hard enough to shut down anyway, that could be critical.



THE CALDERON CAULDRON

If Bayern were in any doubt about the difficulty of taking on Simeone's side on their own turf, they need only look at the statistics.

The club have won 24 of their last 29 European fixtures at the Vicente Calderon - including downing Barcelona 2-0 in the last round - and lost only two. In their previous 21 home matches this season, they have been beaten only once. But the Bavarians have the right characters in their ranks - with manager Guardiola, Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez all having personal experience of conquering the Atletico crowd.


Share
Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
3 min read
Published 27 April 2016 at 12:30am
Source: PA Sport