UCL Wednesday Preview: Atletico aim to knockout holders Barcelona, Bayern take slender lead to Benfica

Barcelona may hold a lead going into their Champions League quarter-final second leg at Atletico Madrid but with an away goal under the belt, Diego Simeone’s side and very much still in a bid to send the holders packing.

Luis Suarez’s brace helped Barcelona come from behind in the first leg to win 2-1 against their La Liga rivals but Fernando Torres’ away goal could play a vital role in the outcome of this quarter-final clash.

Luiz Suarez's brace helped Barcelona come from behind to win 2-1 in the first leg image: theguardian.com

Luiz Suarez’s brace helped Barcelona come from behind to win 2-1 in the first leg
image: theguardian.com

Atletico currently sit just three points behind the Catalans in La Liga and after suffering back-to-back league defeats, Barcelona will be hoping to get back on track in a bid to become the first team to retain the Champions League.

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone knows his side can bring the game to their La Liga rivals and will be hoping the fans can spur his side on to knock out last year’s Champions League winners.

“We will try to find an angle and see if we can get at them and win,” said the 45-year-old.

“Being Atlético means being tenacious, competitive, never giving up and overcoming difficulties. We know there are better teams than us. But we know we can compete against Barcelona.

“The excitement and enthusiasm around this match is fantastic, but I don’t think the Barcelona players will be surprised by the atmosphere because they are used to it.”

Barcelona gaffer Luis Enrique expects a tough match at Atletico Madrid but said his side won’t look to protect their slight advantage, indicating the Catalans will be gunning for the win.

“We have a small advantage and we will try to win here too to make sure of the result,” said the Spaniard.

“This team was made for matches like this. Yes, it’s always difficult against Atlético, but it’s all about doing things well, which is what we try to do every match. We’ll need to play really well.

“There is no doubt we are going to compete. We love to see the Vicente Calderon full but if there’s any team able to play in this atmosphere it is Barca. I hope we can see a great spectacle.”

Fernando Torres away goal could prove vital if Atletico are to progress image: bbc.com

Fernando Torres away goal could prove vital if Atletico are to progress
image: bbc.com

Team News

Atletico Madrid will be without last week’s goalscorer Fernando Torres after the ex-Liverpool and Chelsea striker was sent off in their 2-1 defeat at the Nou Camp.

Defnder Stefan Savic could return following a foot injury, but fellow defender Jose Gimenez (hamstring) midfielder Tiago Mendes (broken leg) are definitely out of the second leg.

Barcelona are set to welcome central defender Gerard Pique back into the starting-up for the trip to the Spanish capital, who has recovered from a hip problem.

However, the La Liga leaders will be without striker Sandro Ramirez (hamstring), midfield duo Aleix Vidal (groin) and Rafinha (thigh) and defensive pair Thomas Vermaelen (calf) and Jeremy Mathieu (knee) through injury.

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